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Five Years of the Paris Agreement: Class and Climate - Mihael Gubas

Just before the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published a regular report on the state of greenhouse gas emissions, concluding that the world is on the path to global warming. "The world is still rushing towards a catastrophic rise in temperature of an average of 3 degrees per year - which far exceeds the 'obligations' of the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep warming below the average of 2 degrees Celsius per year," UNEP concluded.

Recall, 2 average degrees per year on a daily basis means a rise in temperature of 6 to 12 degrees Celsius. This daily increase on an annual basis makes a difference in the number of days of snow cover over, for example, agricultural crops, or the number of dry days. Water movements and the amount of available drinking water in certain parts of the world also depend on this. And just severe climate change, only this year has caused the emergence of a global virus, fires in Australia, Siberia and the Arctic Circle in general. Half a billion animals and significantly more plants died in the torch this year alone. The list of endangered species is increasing, the number of individuals in all animal populations has halved and continues to decrease, all of which is affecting the growth of the list of already extinct species.

Systemic global problems at the micro level are reflected, among other things, in the famine disaster, so the World Food Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) announced last month that 7 million people have died of hunger this year alone, more are hungry hundreds of millions (the data vary slightly, but we can round the number of hungry to 300 million), and in the group of the very poor there are two billion people on the planet (one quarter of the total world population). With the spread of climate catastrophes in the US - especially in its south (e.g. in Louisiana - soil loss due to rising sea levels) and the west (fires in California have already displaced millions of people) parts of the planet undamaged by climate change are becoming increasingly difficult to find privileged countries of the economic core.

On the other hand, in addition to environmental changes, climate change has increasingly severe political and social consequences for peripheral countries. While Pacific island countries are building dams against the rising sea or giving up sovereignty by accumulating land in other countries on nearby lands, in Europe the debate is still about the degree of discourse adequate to communicate with the public about climate change. Climate funds are opening that gape empty, policies to force capital to finance remediation of the damage it has caused are still reduced to innocent flirtations with an overpowering partner. A new green terminology is being introduced, the emergence of which is inversely proportional to the functional green legal and financial framework, the introduction of which is much more talked about than implemented in practice.

In our region, southern Romania is slowly turning into a desert, the Black Sea is left without oxygen and life, tornadoes are forming in Slovenia, and southern Croatia is flooding and slowly turning into a tropical area. The inevitable collapse of the ecosystem awaits the Neretva Valley, and the state limits the powers of the Parliament over the issued energy concessions. According to his own confession, the line minister is a layman in the ecology sector, which can be seen in the issued concessions for the exploration of fossil energy resources and a comfortable attitude towards environmental impact studies. As we lose gas (and political) platforms, there are fewer and fewer fish in the sea, and the rules to limit the catch of marine life, we stick to it until we come face to face with a delicious octopus. Only a few years after we thought there was hope for saving Periski, this year we added that shellfish to the list of extinct species.

The self-proclaimed champions of defense against climate change regularly celebrate all anniversaries, including this one, the fifth since the signing of the Paris Agreement, and yet practical changes are still cosmetic, designed to change anything that can change without changing anything. How little has been achieved can be painfully seen from the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the signing of Paris on the media dedicated to informing about climate change. So the successes are: normalization of the 1.5 percent target, normalization of the idea that by 2050 we have zero net greenhouse gas emissions and the like. The “normalization” of these ideas only means that businessmen and politicians from core and peripheral countries no longer get up from the table when discourse moves in the direction of limiting their privileges.

Yet the political elite is still resilient to climate change, meaning capital is still secure. The normalization of ideas and the path to resolving climate change is a much longer process than civilization has time to wait. There are no institutional changes, the Paris Agreement does not have a central executive mechanism. This does not mean that it is unenforceable in practice. Despite all the warnings, despite all the studies, and despite this year's economic slowdown, we have added another billion tons of CO2 to greenhouse gases this year. While politicians are currently agreeing to all the goals for 2050, they are doing so only because they are aware that it means a few more decades of "laissez-faire" logic, while at the same time there is nothing "trickle-down" towards us except trouble. In the words of the President of the World Food Program: "There is no vaccine for poverty, hunger, climate change and inequality.


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