COP21: the Creator of death called upon to save life

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Paris – Sunday, November 30 and Monday, December 1st, Paris went into an unusual state of calm. Police around every corner, sirens sounding every now and then, and a methodical organization by the Parisians of their own transportation marked these two days.

The Government had exhorted people to reduce their movement. Many were angry, because the communication of the Government had been so unclear that it seemed to hint to further terrorism threats. They had been asked not to drive their cars and to resort to the city’s emblematic subway system, before they were also told to avoid it. The anger which they have expressed, since then, relates to the idea of insisting on holding the Cop21 conference despite the state of emergency under which the country has now been living for nearly three weeks, following the November 13 terrorist attacks. They have weighed this situation of extra pressure against the fact that they did not expect much from that conference.

It would be difficult to suggest that such claims are unfounded. The COP21 will not lead to anything concrete indeed. It is, actually, little more than a big photo opportunity and a number of public relations stunts in which world leaders appear to be trying to save our planet from the ruin caused by Man, in a way that makes Man appear not as our entire race, united in fallacy and sharing selfishness, but as a distant being who once hurt our beloved planet, despite the best of our own intensions.

But, together, we are all that fickle selfish Man. The COP21 is, thus, nothing more than a big event which will barely hide the lie that the sum of the efforts deployed by the international community to combat climate change have been so far, simply because world leaders are not fighting the right beast. They are, instead, treating the symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself. Climate change is real. A Cairo covered by snow in 2013 – an extremely rare occurrence, the loss of the planet’s glacier mass, and a series of natural disasters are hard evidence that something is wrong with our planet. When it snows in Cairo, we have to take climate change seriously. As its name suggests, the COP21 is the twenty-first United Nations conference on global warming. Conference after conference, world leaders have failed to act efficiently to alter that trend, and they are now meeting in Paris, with the specter of the failure of the Copenhagen summit of 2009 looming over them. But what has changed since that summit?

The target of the COP21 is to reach a binding agreement between the different nations of the world, represented by their leaders, in order to reduce harmful emissions in a way that would prevent temperatures from rising by more than 2oC by the year 2100. And that is the first flaw in the conference. Climate change is a symptom. It is the repercussion of a problem, not the problem itself. Reducing such a temperature increase will, at best, reduce the impact of the problem. But temperatures will not stop rising. At best, we would only hand over the problem to other generations to come, decades later. Climate change is occurring because the planet is being polluted.

But pollution itself is a consequence of a wider issue: wrong, disproportionate and insanely gluttonous use of natural resources by Man on one hand, and lack of investment aiming at renewing natural resources on the other. In other words, pollution destroys the planet, and climate change is a consequence of such destruction. And the beast to fight is the gluttony that is causing that pollution.