“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to” – Terri Swearingen
There is no doubt that we human beings have been taking Mother Nature for granted. Injudicious use of natural resources, reckless use of fossil fuels, deforestation, etc to satiate human avarice is all what has led to the Climate Change, which is pretty evident in the 21st century with extreme weather conditions, changing weather patterns etc.
But who is to bear the lion’s share of the blame for this climate change? Which countries—the developing ones, the underdeveloped ones, such as the ones in Africa, or the developed ones?
Although the richest, most developed countries in the world are overwhelmingly to blame for the catastrophe of global climate change, they are not the ones who will suffer the most from it. Who will? You guessed it: the poorest of countries.
However, developed nations, or the western world, take a backseat when it comes to acknowledging responsibility for these actions. As a result, the developing and undeveloped world is left unaided. Such irresponsible move by the western world was recently seen at Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam, where the western counterparts chose to remain absent.
Developed nations responsible for Climate Change
Nevertheless, for more than a century, the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, in total as well as per capita, have been the big developed nations, most notably the United States and the countries of Europe, which grew their economies by burning fossil fuels and spewing carbon from their factories, homes and cars. They continue to release an excessive amount of carbon di oxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere even today. These wealthy nations, which include the United States, Canada, Japan, and much of Western Europe, make up just 12% of the world’s population have produced 50% of the planet-warming greenhouse gases released by industry and fossil fuel consumption during the previous 170 years.
But even as the wealthier countries push the world into an ecological catastrophe, it is obvious that the poorer nations like that in Africa will suffer the worst consequences and have the most trouble coping.
A recent study from Stanford University found that the economic gap between rich countries in colder regions and poor countries in hotter portions of the world is widening as a result of climate change. This is partly caused, by the poorer nations’ relative incapacity to pay for the initiatives required to lessen the effects of climate change, such as more extreme weather events and the loss of arable land in subsistence economies.
Poor and vulnerable nations have requested additional funding from wealthy nations to assist them prepare for these dangers. But throughout this time, these industrialised nations have not even attempted to acknowledge their guilt, forget paying heed to their legitimate request.
African officials recently criticised the absence of Western counterparts at the Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam where they asked for funding to assist their nations adapt to global warming.
No Moral obligation
Senegalese President and African Union chief Macky Sall said, “I cannot fail to note with a touch of bitterness the absence of the leaders of the industrialised world,” Sall said at the opening of the event.
“Because these are the main polluters of our planet and it is they who should finance adaptation.”
Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo also had harsh words for Western leaders, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte being the only one who showed up to the summit in person.
“I deplore the absence of the leaders of the industrialised nations and the private sector who are, as we know, the greatest polluters,” Tshisekedi said.
“The African continent has the smallest impact on climate change, but paradoxically suffers a majority of its consequences,” he said.
These Western leaders’ absence demonstrates their lack of moral obligation to these underdeveloped countries. However, if these western nations could not attend this crucial summit, they will undoubtedly lose all credibility when they attempt to attend COP27, which will take place in the following two months in Egypt. The prior claims of financial assistance from these industrialised countries are blatantly absurd because “actions speak louder than words.”
The West doesn’t realize the consequences of it leaving Africa in the lurch and arm-twisting the continent into surrendering developmental prospective in the name of curbing climate change. Out of frustration, Africa will eventually be forced to forge closer ties with China, India, Russia and other Eastern powers and ditch the West forever. So, simply put, Africa is breaking up with EU and Europe’s snub to the recent climate summit will only catalyse the fall of this already-frayed relationship.