COP27: Greenwashing the road to disaster

COP27: Greenwashing the road to disaster

by Joseph Green, Detroit Workers’ Voice

The UN climate conference, COP27, has come to an end. It has taken place during a year which has seen climate disasters that have affected entire regions, such as  the Pakistan floods that affected over 30 million people. It is taking place when many climate scientists are saying that considerable permanent damage is almost certainly inevitable, no matter what we do. The goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 (COP21) of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (almost 3 degrees Fahrenheit) is not going to be met.

Yet COP27 took it for granted that the world will proceed along the same path of market-oriented measures, a path that has gotten us to the present disastrous position. This path has proved incapable of making changes sufficiently fast. The path of voluntary national pledges, public-private partnerships, and market incentives has  failed. The pledges are insufficient, and they weren’t met anyway. But COP27 closed its eyes to this.

Instead, to accomplish anything serious in curbing global warming, it is essential to see why carbon emissions have kept going up despite 27 years of UN conferences. It is necessary to see what was wrong with the old measures, and what needs to be done now. Serious damage is now inevitable, but the world needs to limit how much damage is done.

But the world bourgeoisie is complacent; it is still doing business as usual. Indeed establishment news accounts even echo the UN saying that it was a “historic achievement” that COP27 established a fund for the richer countries to pay for some of the environmental “loss and damage” suffered by the poorer countries of the Global South.  But in fact there was only an agreement to negotiate further on how to set up the fund and who would pay for it. Meanwhile the damages are going to get worse and worse, and eventually affect rich and industrialized countries too, as the climate deteriorates.

Thus COP27 was a conference of greenwashers, who spout environmental words while continuing to let the situation decay, thus creating a “green” facade to hide the criminal failures of the world bourgeoisie while disasters mount. COP27 even claimed to maintain the goal of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees C, although it wouldn’t even commit to dealing with all fossil fuels.