climate apartheid

For the UN, climate apartheid is imminent. Only the rich will get out of it.

According to a report published by the United Nations, the world is increasingly threatened by "climate apartheid". A world where the rich pay to escape the heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis while the rest of humanity suffers. In such a world in crisis, the basic rights to life, water, food and shelter of hundreds of millions of people, but also to democracy and the rule of law are threatened.
L’The United Nations issued a new report detailing the dangers of climate change, with particular emphasis on how it will shape the issue of poverty in the coming decades.
Written by Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, the document paints a bleak picture not only for those who are suffering today, but also for the millions and millions of people who will be pushed into poverty as a result of climate change. For the author, who is an independent human rights expert, such a situation is likely to dangerously undermine democracy and human rights.

Climate: the poor will toast

The new report echoes recent climate studies published by the United Nations, calling on governments to do more than the Paris Accord to limit warming to levels considered to be safe. These have highlighted the problems of climate refugees, dwindling natural resources and extreme weather events, but this latest contribution highlights the inequality between rich and poor and how global warming threatens to widen the gap.
Even if the current targets are met, tens of millions of people will be impoverished, leading to massive population displacements and famine. "said the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and author of the report, Philip Alston. « Climate change threatens to reverse the past 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction. It could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions and places where poor people live and work. "
The report is based on figures from the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among others, and imagines a world with a warming of 2° C. According to the document, an additional 100 to 400 million people are at risk of hunger and one to two billion people will not have access to sufficient water. Agricultural yields could fall by thirty per cent, while malnutrition, malaria and diseases caused by heat stress could cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year by 2030.

Unsustainable gaps

The June 25 UN document also highlights the gaps between carbon emissions from the poor, who will suffer most, and those from the rich, who will suffer least. The 3.5 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world's population are responsible for only ten percent of these emissions, while the richest ten percent contribute half. It is striking that a person in the richest 1 % is responsible for 175 times more carbon emissions than a person in the poorest 10 %. « Very perversely, while people living in poverty are responsible for only a fraction of global emissions, they will be the most affected by climate change and will have the least means to protect themselves. ", predicted Mr. Alston. « We risk a climate apartheid scenario where the rich pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to fend for itself. "

Political Threats

As a result of this "apartheid", the threat to democracy and the rule of law is just as important as the issues of food security, housing and water, the report says. It argues that the anticipated mass migration of people forced to starve to death or to move "is a threat to democracy and the rule of law," the report says. will pose immense and unprecedented challenges to governance "and will probably cause" nationalist, xenophobic, racist and other responses ".
In such a context, civil and political rights will be very vulnerable. ", thinks Mr. Alston. Most human rights organizations have barely begun to address what climate change bodes for human rights. But the issue is still part of a long list of "problems to be solved," while the time remaining to avoid catastrophic consequences is extraordinarily short. « At a time when a real crisis threatening the human rights of a large number of people is descending upon us, the usual fragmented, issue-by-issue methodology of human rights is woefully inadequate. "says the UN rapporteur.

Bankruptcy of rulers

The report spares no one; it points to the ad hoc speeches made by Heads of State or Government at regular conferences that do not lead to any concrete action. « States have exceeded all scientific thresholds and warnings, and what was once considered catastrophic warming now appears to be the most likely scenario. "said Mr. Alston. « Even today, too many countries are still taking short-sighted steps in the wrong direction. ». States cannot even meet their current inadequate commitments on carbon reduction and climate financing. Instead, they continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $520 billion a year.
Philip Alston also criticizes the "manifestly inadequate" measures taken by the UN itself, states, NGOs and companies as "grossly inadequate". totally disproportionate to the urgency and magnitude of the threat ». His report to the UN Human Rights Council concludes sombrely: " Human rights may not survive the upheavals ahead. "
This chilling document is just one in a now very long list of reports, manifestos, appeals and various studies that seek to alert and mobilize opinion on the risks posed by the climate crisis. Like others, it denounces the powerlessness and even collusion of States, organizations and major companies. But what makes it original and particularly striking is the highlighting of climate impacts on the very sustainability of our democratic societies and the human rights that have shaped them for decades. Some see uncontrolled climate change as a risk of collapse and the end of humanity. A horizon so dark that it becomes inconceivable and unthinkable. On the other hand, what Philip Alston's report tells us is more easily conceptualized because we can see the premises in some parts of the world: if we do nothing, democracy and human rights risk being destroyed. Because nature abhors a vacuum, it will soon replace centuries of historical construction with unprecedented wild chaos. Is this the world we want for the generations to come? That is the real question this text asks.    

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3 années

I don't get it. The air we breathe, the water we drink is the same for everyone.

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