The Coming of the COP: International Climate Negotiations come to Qatar

It will render millions of homes, jobs and dreams obsolete, exacerbate existing political sores and bring us many more. Asia and Africa will be royally screwed.  Towns and cities will migrate, consultants will make money, communities will be pauperised, NGOs will make money.

For 12 days from this coming Monday, the United Nation's annual Climate Change Conference, the Conference of the Parties (or COP) will unfold in Qatar.  Science will be bandied around. Awards will be brandied around. And we the sons, daughters and khalifas of this brown soil might harp on about the actual intellectual and ecological values of our sacred tradition.

The countries of the world will congregate for the 18th time, polluting  and endangered, scientifically creative and consumptive, politically and public relations invested. They will be joined by corporate NGOs, businesses and the other usual suspects.

Qatar is an interesting place for a COP for a few reasons. On Al Jazeera's doorstep coverage of it is potentially different in kind from other such meetings, which are dominated by the industrialised polluting nations and their post-industrial guilt laden, but more or less eurocentric environmental NGOs. Though post-Wadah Khanfar Al Jazeera very much follows a pro secular editorial policy overseen by the Qatari royal family, their coverage is likely ( I hope) to deepen and wider participation in the climate conversation.

This small fossil fuel rich state in the Middle East is increasingly investing in science, foreign policy adventures and losing its status as the highest per capita carbon emitter. Pretty much every major western university has representation there. Post-Syria crisis they appear to be buying out Iran's political stake in Gaza, and the Qatar Investment Authority seems to be allocating finance towards renewables manufacture and appliance.

From a Londonistani point of view, there are a lot of Pakistani technocrats working working in Qatar, happy to live with the racial/class ordering and deculturation, so long as the money's good, life is safe and the Islamic frostings are there. Football fans, a community to which I do not belong, might also see this international event through their 2022 World Cup goggles.

Substance-wise, I do not think it likely that neoliberal imperialist, invader, polluter nations will chose to lose their competitive edge and pledge the binding deep cuts needed to mitigate hideous climate weirdness. The UK government have demonstrated that they cant even be bothered to maintain Labours Climate charade, Obomber's solution probably involves selling futures options on drones that will kill climate refugees (thereby mitigating any impacts of climate change on the good american people).

There maybe quite a few co-options of vulnerable countries through Adaptation Hush Money, that is funds from a polluter to an endangered government in exchange for other services rendered and the right to pollute further. Who knows? the devils really are in all the details.

The summit is easy to follow online if your are so inclined.

For fellow decolonial futurists and friends of the politics of life (not death) I recommend keeping an eye on the Bolivian and Equadorian delegations who stress the Nature Rights approach and Pablo Solon the ex Bolivian negotiator now at Focus on the Global South. Also be mindful of the sheer skull duggery of climate commodification and the G77 group of developing countries.

1 comment:

city said...

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