2017-12-15 03:09:53 UTC
President Evo Morales of Bolivia, a world-reknown, long time defender of
the environment, has called for the creation of an international "climate
justice court". This was on the sidelines of the recently concluded "One
Planet" Summit that was held in France this week.
Leaders from all over the world were in attendance at the summit hosted by
French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General
Antonio Gutierrez. Also present were youths from schools and universities
from around the world. But more importantly was the attendance by leading
NGO's and private corporations who are major investors in the research,
development, and commercialisation of clean energy technology around the
Let's remember that there is an annual $100 billion dollars fund open to
countries and the private sector specifically to fight climate change, and
these companies & NGO's are initiating great sustainable projects with
I didn't see a top-level delegation from Uganda at this important world
event, yet leaders from other developing countries in Africa, Asia and
South America made the effort to attend, listen, and contribute to the
fight against climate change during this significant meeting.
That is where Evo Morales of Bolivia is making his proposal for
International Climate Justice.
Many ordinary Third World dwellers might need to get themselves out of the
state of environmental ignorance and the related negligence so as to not
only grasp the magnitude of the upcoming global environmental disaster, but
also to fully understand why such endeavours are necessary.
We must recognize that it is a common effort to which everyone needs to
I personally have been reading alot of well researched articles and watched
interesting documentaries about creative efforts towards clean energy and
reduction of carbon emissions. The commitment (and results) by some little
known individuals and companies out there is quite inspiring.
The one subject that many people here are united in being passionately
stuck in is political power, yet environmental alarm bells (and the bells
for other pressing problems) continue to ring around the world.
Surely at the global level it must be established by international law that
producing certain levels of green house gases (carbon emissions), general
pollution and environmental degradation are a crime not only against
humanity, but also against all forms of life currently existing on earth.
The 2015 Paris summit on climate change was a major milestone where world
climate and environment experts, industrialists and politicians all came
together and agreed that we, humanity, were already late in addressing the
looming dangers from global carbon emissions. We are late in establishing
clean energies to replace the high consumption of the rapidly depleting and
highly polluting fossil fuels like oil.
The summit agreed that global warming by more than 2Â° Celsius was going to
be disastrous for the entire planet.
First of all do we even understand what that means? The vast majority of
people in my corner of the planet would not know what someone is talking
about if you tell them that it is a huge danger if we experience global
warming by only 2Â° degrees Celsius. To many that would sound like not being
a problem at all. To them it's the difference they experience between when
they are indoors and they go outdoors for example.
Yet in reality at the global scale, such a simple rise in the worlds
average temperature could cause major disasters in terms of harsh new
weather patterns (both hot and cold), rising sea levels of more than three
meters worldwide, together with many other environmental changes leading to
abnormal environmental and climatic events that will directly impact life
on this earth and it's sustainability.
So everyone needs to have the minimum knowledge and global perspective
required to comprehend global warming and climate change matters plus the
urgency to address them. These issues should already be in school
curriculums, including the study of how to solve them. This includes
looking at the various technics/technologies being tested and deployed to
the market today.
At governments level it remains imperative that any means to get countries
back on track in quickly addressing the known looming dangers before they
negatively impact our daily lives (making us sick from unknown cancers for
example, or limiting food resources), the mitigating measures should be
immediately embraced by all countries (and all peoples none the less). It
definitely requires member states to enforce some stringent pieces of
legislation, but it also requires education and sensitization. In this
domain, Africa is again lagging so far behind that people hardly notice
some of the simple but rampant unhealthy behaviours/habits they practice
that contribute to dirty, unhealthy environments even in their homes and
neighbourhoods (poor waste disposal and recycling habits for example, plus
little understanding of common industrially produced materials like
plastics and their impact on the environment). If for example washing hands
is requiring major World Health Organizations sanitation campaigns, then
what does that say about bathing?
The concept of environmental literacy has to be established and recognized
as a major tool to address/remedy climate change because it is a common
effort that is required starting by each one of us individually.
However the criminal responsibility for the highly dangerous environmental
degradation, be it at the governments, corporate, or individual levels,
should be squarely established by law, especially with the activities that
are causing exponentially cumulative disastrous effects against
populations, fauna, flora and the environment generally.
I bet the worlds leading industrialised countries (who are also the biggest
polluters) already don't want to hear about this Morales climate court ever
again at the moment. They are clearly already guilty of the major
environmental crimes against global populations and even against the
planets environment since their carbon footprints and it's impact go way
beyond their national boundaries.
That is why the Sustainable Development Goals is an attempt to have a
meaningful, wholistic, non-confrontational, well-coordinated effort to
contain the climate change disaster by 2030. This was re-enforced by the
2015 Paris Agreement, and this week's One Planet summit where even Arab and
Israeli leaders first put aside their Jerusalem squabbles temporarily so as
to focus on a deeper long term existential threat against humanity which is
It is possible that a global statute establishing a legal institution for
International climate justice, might be delayed, undermined or challenged.
It might also not find an extensive enough consensus within the next decade
or two. It's main problem is that it faces a little known phenomenon called
carbon colonialism. Where cash from western countries is also used to
attempt to deflect through environmental foreign aid and related elaborate
financial schemes, the overwhelming responsibility of industrialised rich
countries in causing the current carbon status of the planet.
As I said earlier, the sum of $100 billion dollars was agreed upon annually
to fight climate change. Money that the big polluters, the rich countries,
would disbourse annually through private sector pro-environment initiatives
to the poor nations. Apparently the reality is that not even 10% of those
funds is paid. The biggest climate criminals are walking scot-free from
their climate crimes.
It is also quite unnerving for the biggest polluters to now tell the rest
of the world what we must do to fight the global warming that they have
caused and continue to do so with total impunity. That is why I call their
behaviour climate colonialism.
But the egg has hatched. And it is in the direct interest of developing
countries to rally behind the idea of climate justice and pursue it to
fruition. A well-meaning determined effort could see it become reality in a
minimum 7 years. But then concerned countries and their regional
institutions should start consultations now.
International climate justice could help put the pressure where deserving.
It is already futile for climate criminals to avoid being labelled as so.
But court rulings establish their responsibilities is important in this
multi-pronged approach to fight climate change.
Mr. Morales therefore deserves support and recognition for initiating this
critical, innovative, far-reaching concept of climate justice that could
help in the global management of the fight against climate change and in
efforts to preserve the environment for future generations.
By Hussein Lumumba Amin.