How far did the world leaders succeed in combating climate change?

WHILE it is the duty of the world leaders to lead the way in charting the climate action paths for sustainable solutions and parameters, as the leaders strive to do so, it is a given that they also encounter a myriad of stumbling blocks, some man-made, while others will be beyond their own making, all against the successful combating of the climate change scourge.

Through periodical Conference Of Parties (COPs) engagements and other related for a and platforms, our leaders have succeeded in coming up with palatable blueprints, on the other hand, while on the other side, these leaders have succeeded in sufficiently deceiving and posturing, rather than acting in good faith. This is not that either they cannot reason or that they are simply blind about the situations threatening to make the environment fall apart. The truth is that it is costly and too heavy for them to shake off the ghost climate allegiance and ideological stand-points. It is through these paradigms that they indirectly chose to sacrifice the future of the only and one earth as well as that of the children.

Many people around the world have since invested lots of hopes in these unfolding COPs and other related platforms alike, which are indirectly meant to buy time, procrastinate and play endless simple arithmetic mind games, in the name of the so-called climate change emissions thresholds. As they appear to be observing these thresholds and benchmarks, major polluting nations will be given the chance to do what they know best, doling out mega-tonnes of carbon emissions.

Why it is our leaders’ prerogative to lead the way in protecting the planet and give it a new lease of life. They have, at the same time, found the tide of ideological standpoints too powerful to go against or simply ignoring. As such, they have chosen to invest heavily in the powerful and ever-accelerating climate change discourse, designed not only to sustainably communicate, but also to shift attention from critical matters of climate action strategies to linguistic manipulation and massaging.

Power relations operate as controlling forces in climate change information dissemination, climate negotiations and engagements. Through unseen forces and powerful machinations operating in the background, the climate new world order is unjustifiably chartered, directed and misdirected as well as communicated in complex ways and channels. Powerful nations consolidate their power through the use of language to persuade and manipulate vulnerable developing countries and implementing partners.

Climate change engagements are ideological by relations of power and struggles over and control in order to secure power and hegemony. It is also a cause for concern that developing countries lack the required voice and manoeuvring space to articulate their climate concerns sustainably without being called upon to side with any notable influential block so as to guarantee their economic survival or continuous flow of aid. If they are to openly criticise the well-resourced countries, funding with strings attached may as well disappear. In this regard, instead of thinking with their brains, they surrender that process and begin to think with their heart and stomachs.

The world has become a dumping ground of dangerous substances through unethical environmental practices which have threatened to make the earth inhabitable through poisoning it. The world leaders cannot achieve two objectives at once, especially when the objectives go against each other.

Firstly, they cannot tame the emissions thresholds and benchmarks when they continue to emit as much as they want. Secondly, they cannot successfully engage stakeholders while they manipulate the language in order to confuse the audiences. There are too things involved, that is to keep abreast with the fast-changing language and also for the leaders to specifically adhere to the required emission thresholds.

Against this background of their glib and communication massaging, the world continues to experience more vicious flooding, deadly tsunamis, perennial droughts, suffocating heat and paralysing winters as well as life-threatening forms of pollutions. All these phenomena need to be managed rather than being accelerated. Of course, these are highly natural phenomena and, as such, they must be seen to be manageable.

The other glaring factor is the cat and mouse relationship between the governments around the world and the environmental activists and advocacy groups.

Then if the governments are quite sincere about their climate obligations, why then would they always have running battles with the environmental advocacy groups. These unfolding events mean that these countries’ environmental stewardships are not that bright and beautiful as well as being sufficiently compromised. They are toxic, unethical and poisoned. In short, these leaders do not walk the talk.

As the leaders try to focus their attention on carbon emissions, they have also forgotten to talk about climate-induced migrations and the deteriorating health well-being of the people around the world. All over the world, environmental institutions under government control are the weakest and most ineffective. The governments have set these bodies so that they can abuse them or bypass standing regulations at will. As such, politics has taken precedence over the environment, and until and unless the lead negotiators remove the political and ideological lenses, then the issues of proper environmental sustainability cannot take centre stage. These current negotiations are predetermined, sugar-coated and glossed in political mega-tones.

As the situation stands, there isn’t much space for the future generations to participate in climate action strategies. The concept of catching the children young or child activism is no longer holding much water. Surprisingly, the majority of leaders are not very much climate literate, hence they only talk about climate change issues which they are not knowledgeable about or especially when the COPs and many climate forums are about to begin, so that they are seen to be at least saying something though. Of course, these leaders, as masters of grandstanding and posturing, normally wait for April 22 (the World Earth Day) each year in order to sound a bit relevant on matters of environmental protection, before they become mute for another whole year.
Also, not much is being heard about the game parks community of practices, where climate-induced water scarcities are having effects on the wildlife survival, together with the climate-induced hungers, which has seen the increase in the number of proxy poaching related activities.

The major factor is the placement of the future generations in this scenario because they would also want to enjoy sight-seeing, wild life and tourist attractions. In this regard, they would not enjoy seeing old and emerging coal mines, destroyed infrastructure and forests, as well as poisoned water lifelines and intoxicated atmosphere. Yes, indeed, they need something better, motivating and refreshing. We can actually do more for the future generations so that they won’t become the lost generations.

Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his capacity and can be contacted on: petrovmoyt@gmail.com

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