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COP27 Exemplifies the Challenges in Implementing a Climate Justice-First Agenda
November 7, 2022 – As COP27 commences in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the United Nations will convene governments to discuss the steps they are taking to address the impacts of climate change.
Last year at COP26, climate justice advocates from across the globe pushed for a phasing out of fossil fuels, but regrettably no real progress was made to keep global warming below 1.5 C. The decision makers attending COP27, including President Biden, face a major choice: will they commit to binding agreements and executing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy?
As a network of migrant-led organizations and hundreds of thousands of activists across the U.S., we envision a world where our planet and families have access to a healthy climate and clean, renewable energy. We understand that the needs of the Global Majority, composed of Black, Indigenous, Asian, and communities of color, cannot fully be addressed at a conference where the fossil fuel industry will likely wield disproportionate influence in conversations about the climate crisis.
Global spaces such as COP27 should ideally be used to determine bilateral, multi-governmental, and transnational solutions that center the humanity of those displaced by the catastrophic consequences of climate change. However, climate migration isn’t even on the agenda at COP27. We urgently need regular migration pathways for those forced to displace themselves because their homes have become unlivable. And the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis need funding to develop their own climate resiliency and mitigation strategies.
While fossil fuel industry executives stonewall a necessary phaseout of fossil fuels, and amidst a lack of strong representation from countries of the Global Majority, COP27 exemplifies the challenges that prevent the global community from fully implementing a climate justice-first agenda. This should be the space in which governments stop embracing the false fixes that are marketed as solutions for the climate crisis: to save our planet, we need to transition into renewable energy and phase out fossil fuels, full stop.
COP27 should also be the space in which decision makers finally reckon with the climate change-driven loss and damage incurred by countries in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. Another ideal outcome to come out of COP27 would be if global leaders committed to a loss and damage financing mechanism, to address the disproportionate and catastrophic impact of climate change in Global Majority countries.
Finally, it’s worth noting that COP27 isn’t necessarily the premiere space for climate justice work: this takes place most vigorously at the grassroots level. Organized communities have the knowledge and lived experiences to identify and fight for the type of world we want to live in. Let’s continue connecting with our communities and organizing for a world outside of extractive and exploitative systems.
Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. In 2022, Alianza integrated with Presente.org, establishing a stronger digital organizing powerhouse.