By Sophie Squire
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Rulers scheming to scrap 1.5 degree climate target

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World leaders have signalled that they aren't serious about climate change and want to water down promises to keep temperatures below a 1.5 degree rise
Issue 2831
3 delegates speak at Cop27 climate conference environment

Delegates speak at the Cop27 climate conference

World leaders clashed this week over how best to delay taking action to fight climate change. During the second week of the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt, it became clear a central promise made at last year’s conference could be scrapped or watered down.

Tory Alok Sharma, the Cop president last year, described the goal to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as, “alive, but its pulse is weak.” And, former Irish president Mary Robinson said she was “worried that there seems to be some kind of attempt to say maybe 1.5 degrees is not achievable anymore.”

Major countries never worked towards meeting the 1.5 degrees target. At best, their current plans limit global warming to 2.5 degrees by 2100, ­according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Now some countries are pushing to abandon even the pretence of climate action. Already temperatures have risen by 1.2 degrees, ­leading to an increase in extreme weather events, rising seas and melting glaciers. If the 1.5 degree pledge is discarded it will show that those in power have no interest in the climate fight but are instead fixated on profits.

It will reveal the entire Cop process to be a sham. Not only does it fail, but it has been designed by the ruling class to create the appearance of action over climate change when there is none. The best illustration of this is the way world leaders have agreed imperialist war in Ukraine means we must dump the fight for the planet.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ­secretary, Adel al Jubeir, said in an interview that the war had, “exposed the hypocrisies that have been around for a long time and that we have talked about for years”. “People argue that we should reduce oil production. And then… you have a crisis and people are now demanding that we increase oil ­production. It doesn’t work both ways.”

Since the war began, Britain, the European Union and the US have rushed to find new supplies of fossil fuels to replace those they once bought from Russia.

While politicians at Cop try to outmanoeuvre each other, the devastating reality of climate change is being felt by the poorest across the world. Record-breaking heat hit India and Pakistan in spring only to be followed by ­terrible floods in August. The combination has left millions of people without homes and livelihoods.

Heavy rains have been near constant in Chad in ­central Africa since September. The Chari and Logone rivers in the country’s south have burst their banks and floods have displaced some 150,000 people. There are now fears that there will be an increase in the spread of deadly diseases.

Climate scientists now predict there will be more of these floods across the region. A report by African climate groups suggests flooding in Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Cameroon and South Africa could displace 1.4 ­billion people by 2030. The climate crisis is here. While those in power delay poor people are dying.

What Cop27 shows is that to stop the ruling class from destroying our planet we must wrestle control of ­society out of their hands.

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