Year 4, Month 12, Day 4: We Owe Our Souls To The Company Store

The Hindu (India) notes the latest move from the policy-making arms of our corporate overlords:

US wants poor countries to also pay into the Green Climate Fund. The move left the G77 countries angry and made them officially register complaint against negotiations being conducted in bad faith.

In a late night manoeuvre on Thursday the US backtracked from its obligation to the promise of the $ 100 billion funds by 2020 for poor countries instead demanding that the developing countries too should be asked to contribute.

The move by the US of inserting a new fundamental idea going against the decisions that have been taken in previous years at the UN climate negotiations left the G77 countries angry and made them officially register complaint against negotiations being conducted in bad faith.

One of the G77 negotiators walking out of the meeting at about 3 am on Friday told The Hindu, “Now we are renegotiating decisions that all countries agreed to at previous Conference of Parties (annual climate talks). This is the last day of the Warsaw talks and all some countries are trying to do is throw this critical question of finance into disarray.”

He said, “It was decided earlier that the $ 100 billion annually will be provided by the developed countries by 2020 to help the developing countries fight climate change. They agreed to it. Now they are slipping in the idea that developing countries should also contribute to this fund. Besides this they see private investments as a large part of the funds to begin with. This is plain and simple backtracking.”

Infuriating, but hardly surprising. November 23:

While it’s no longer explicitly advocated by developed nations, colonialism is far from dead. The United States’ recent moves to limit financial commitments to poor countries living on the front lines of catastrophic climate change is a case in point.

This sudden reversal makes an ugly kind of sense when we recognize that all the world’s countries, rich and poor alike, have been colonised by multinational corporations; the US government bends to the will of its owners, who are no longer the people of the United States, but the giant companies which have reaped unimaginable wealth from the extraction and sale of fossil fuels. Where the world’s people recognize the need to avert a rapidly metastasizing climatic disaster, these corporations only see a potential drop in profits. When business interests dominate and direct the world’s climate and energy policies, this is nothing more than corporate colonialism at its most malign.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 3, Day 16: John Company Raj Redux

The Times of India runs an article on the McGill study, which had also provided fodder for yesterday’s letter. One good turn deserves another. In this letter I tried to connect the climate crisis loosely to India’s history of British colonialism.

Sent March 7:

In an ironic coda to the destructive legacy of colonialism, the McGill University study makes painfully clear the fact that those whose lives are already subject to the vagaries of climate and extreme weather will be the first and most painfully affected victims of climate change. Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania are going to bear the brunt of the destruction caused by the industrialized nations’ greenhouse emissions; countries whose “carbon footprint” is little more than a rounding error will be the ones submerged by rising seas, devastated by drought, or inundated by catastrophic flooding. A world-wide initiative to transform the energy economies of both the developed and the developing world is morally, scientifically, economically and socially essential. Alas, in a world dominated by the short-term fiscal interests of multinational corporations, a just and equitable approach to the climate crisis seems likely to remain a planetary fever dream.

Warren Senders