Muhammed Magassy calls out western hypocrisy in the climate crisis. Though many powerful and wealthy countries, such as the UK, Norway and the US, have shown some commitments to addressing climate change, they are failing to do enough and frequently shift the blame to developing countries. Change is possible, but we must cooperate together.
It is called climate hypocrisy – and it is a real problem. It actively prevents European powers from engaging with the Global South to realize real progress towards stopping climate change.
It prefers gaslighting in its stead.
A significant example is Norway, which has recently announced its funding of a comprehensive satellite map, free for download, by which deforestation can be tracked. On the surface, this is a generous initiative and a signal contribution to combating tropical deforestation, a major contributor to climate change.
But on closer examination, something seems off. After Russia and Qatar, Norway ranks as the world’s third largest gas exporter. Norway earns significant profits from its oil and gas exports, though it has never declared any intention to cease profiting off a major driver of climate change.
In fact, Norway announced its intention to divest its trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund from oil and gas, and then opened its largest oil field to date.
Many great powers and wealthy countries, such as the European Union, United Kingdom, and United States, have commitments to making substantial domestic transformations in their economies, transitioning to a healthier, safer, less volatile planet.
Unfortunately, many of these Western countries are not allocating sufficient resources to combat the problem, fail to address the role their demand plays in driving climate change, and blame developing countries for climactic outcomes that, again, their economies profit from.
The same European Union that has focused so intently on a Green Deal, makes $100 billion investments into fossil fuels, including African fossil fuels. Britain, in turn, promises net zero emissions by 2050. However, Britain’s own proposed emissions reductions will not meet the country’s emissions goals.
This has not prevented Prime Minister Boris Johnson from touting a ‘Green Industrial Revolution,’ a British counterpart to the European ‘Green Deal,’ which nevertheless only allocates £12 billion of public investment when the need is over thirty times as much.
That means Western countries haven’t fully committed to the goal of addressing climate change, insofar as, like Norway, they continue to invest into fossil fuels or, like Britain, fail to make the necessary financial contributions. This has not, however, prevented many Western countries from hectoring the Global South.
As a member of Parliament for The Gambia, which has a historical connection to the United Kingdom, and a Parliamentary Representative for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), I write not in order to point out the dangers of such hypocrisy.
But, instead, to propose an alternative to separate national and regional Green Deals and in its stead something far more ambitious. Specifically, the West must work with the Global South to bring about a true industrial revolution, a ‘Global Green Deal,’ a plan to fight climate change.
This requires that instead of badgering developing countries, the West acknowledge that demand from its economies both largely drives a significant percentage of the climate change it claims to be so concerned by – and that many developing countries are dependent on this demand.
They cannot transition to a sustainable outcome if there is no other viable method by which to provide the basic needs of life, let alone to accomplish a path to upward mobility. That is why I believe the West must work with the Global South to realize a shared commitment to fighting climate change.
Of course, I am not naïve.
I know that with tensions between Britain and Europe, it might seem hard to imagine the two cooperating on anything so grand and so significant let alone that countries with vastly different economic, social, and cultural realities could find any way to work together.
But I am also optimistic that we as a planet are increasingly aware of just how much danger we in, and that this will drive us towards forms of cooperation our predecessors would have considered unimaginable.
By Muhammad Magassy