So COP27 is in November. Last year the build-up seemed huge for the last international climate conference in Glasgow, COP26. This time; not so much.
But is that my UK media bubble? The September news has been dominated by Truss’s new government’s jump to the right; the Queen’s death; and the successful Ukrainian counter offensive. Not much room for COP27. While last year our government was the COP26 host and dying to talk about it.
So I decided to do some semi-scientific google searches. My conclusion: maybe the relative silence of COP27 is not so clear-cut and you need to be aware of the media that is serving you.
One thing does look definite: there is a new issue getting media coverage and that is “loss and damage” from climate change. This was not even being talked about at this stage last year, even by Al Jazeera, a key global South media outlet.
“Loss and Damage” is the buzz term for demands from the global South for compensation from the global North for damage caused by climate change, for which the North is clearly and largely responsible. It was raised at COP26 by the global South but never got formal recognition in any text because the US and EU blocked attempts to provide that recognition. Or at least that is what the COP26 president, Alok Sharma, claimed.
Pakistan’s minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, has been a strong, recent advocate for compensation as her country has suffered unimaginably disastrous flooding. This has made the news in The Guardian, Washington Post and Al Jazeera. It even made the Daily Mail, probably the UK’s most right-wing mainstream media outlet, but I couldn’t find a mention in its US equivalent, Fox News.
Our prime minister is apparently not even going to show at COP27 at all. Not a good start.
So are we and our respective governments going to listen, accept our responsibility and respond to what seem eminently reasonable demands? Or, as it appears to have been with COP26, seek to cancel those demands and their advocates?
The global North’s record for admitting responsibility for its impacts on the global South would caution against optimism. Our prime minister is apparently not even going to show at COP27 at all. Not a good start.
However, maybe with the brutal nature of climate change impacts in full view alongside a very different international political economy, things could change. In the growing new Cold War, could the West’s need for allies give the global South a new angle, a more persuasive proposition?
Could the West’s need for allies give the global South a new angle, a more persuasive proposition?
In this edition, I discuss this and related issues with director of the Third World Network, Chee Yoke Ling – the network supports engagement of the global South with international policy. I also speak with Pakistan-based, media expert, Waqar Rizvi. And we get a view of climate change as seen in Bangladesh from Rohini Kamal.
More broadly in this quarter’s issue we aim to escape our global North bubble dominated by war, inflation and national political conflict, and get perspectives from the global South on what the big issues look like there. Patricia Gestoso looks at the southern labour exploitation underpinning digital transformation; Harshita Bahsin and Anirban Dasgupta warn of the perils of food importation; Jayan Jose Thomas looks at the challenge of harnessing the potential of India’s huge growing young population; and Alex Kozul-Wright looks at the potential of new wave of left wing politicians in South America.
We also hear from Chris Mouré how the US aim to reduce computer chip scarcity might be ill-conceived, while Alex Kozul-Wright reviews Guy Standing’s new book, The Blue Commons: rescuing the economy of the Sea and Caroline Knowles takes us into the world of Quant.
Best wishes with the coming winter which looks like it is going to be very challenging on so very many fronts.