Greta Thunberg and Abby Martin at COP26 in Glasgow Scottland (Nov 2021)

Greta Thunberg and Abby Martin Hammer COP26 as a Greenwashing Sham17 min read

Economy Environment Globalization Politics
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Introduction

I don’t normally do temporal newsy things like this, but I saw these amazing quotes floating around social media about COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland and I had to post them because they are both too good to pass up and comment on. I have 2 quotes from COP26 for you to ponder:

  1. Greta Thunberg’s Speech @ COP26 (8 Nov 2021)
  2. Abby Martin’s Question to Nancy Pelosi @ Cop 26 (10 Nov 2021)

Below, I will give you a video of their speech/question, then the text transcript of it, and then I will post my thoughts.

I. Greta Thunberg’s Speech @ COP26 (8 Nov 2021)

A. Video of Her Speech

Here is the video of Greta Thunberg’ Condemns UN Climate Summit as a “Greenwash Festival” (8 Nov 20201) from Democracy Now with Amy Goodman:

Greta Thunberg’s Speech At COP26 (9 Nov 2021)

B. Transcript of Speech

It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place. And more and more people are starting to realize this. Many are starting to ask themselves, “What will it take for the people in power to wake up?”

But let’s be clear: They are already awake. They know exactly what they are doing. They know exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to maintain business as usual. The leaders are not doing nothing; they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destructive system. This is an active choice by the leaders to continue to let the exploitation of people and nature and the destruction of present and future living conditions to take place.

The COP has turned into a PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains the governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action. It seems like their main goal is to continue to fight for the status quo.

And COP26 has been named the most exclusionary COP ever. This is not a conference. This is now a Global North greenwash festival, a two-week-long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah. The most affected people in the most affected areas still remain unheard, and the voices of future generations are drowning in their greenwash and empty words and promises. But the facts do not lie, and we know that our emperors are naked.

To stay below the targets set in the Paris Agreement, and thereby minimizing the risks of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control, we need immediate, drastic, annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen. And as we don’t have the technological solutions that alone will do anything even close to that, that means we will have to fundamentally change our society. And this is the uncomfortable result of our leaders’ repeated failure to address this crisis.

At the current emissions rates, our remaining CO2 budgets to give us the best chances of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius will be gone within the end of this decade. And the climate and ecological crisis, of course, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is directly tied to other crises and injustices that date back to colonialism and beyond, crises based on the idea that some people are worth more than others, and therefore had the right to steal others — to exploit others and to steal their land and resources. And it is very naive of us to think that we could solve this crisis without addressing the root cause of it.

But this is not going to be spoken about inside the COP. It’s just too uncomfortable. It’s much easier for them to simply ignore the historical debt that the countries of the Global North have towards the most affected people and areas. And the question we must now ask ourselves is: What is it that we are fighting for? Are we fighting to save ourselves and the living planet, or are we fighting to maintain business as usual?

Greta Thunberg Speech @ Conference of the Parties 26 in Glasgow, Scotland (8 Nov 2021)

C. My Thoughts

Introduction

Greta’s speech reads like she has been listening to my live stream and reading my environmental policies and my blog posts!

1. The System is the Issue, Stupid!

I have been saying something similar to this on my live stream and in my policies for quite a while now: “It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place.“, although I am not sure we are NOT meaning the same thing. I would have to really look into her various speeches and words to know for sure.

For me, the issue is Capitalism and Monetary Systems which is what creates all of the issues that Humanity, as a globalized civilization, has. Things cannot change as long as the system itself requires and rewards sociopathic actions – the destruction of Human lives and the environment for profit. Congress gets paid by lobbyists from the Military Industrial Complex, the Fossil Fuel Industry, the Banking Industry, the Pharmaceutical Industry, and others to murder people and destroy the environment for fun and profit. We cannot save ourselves from extinction while still staying with monetary systems because as long as it possible to profit from the suffering of others and the destruction of the environment, then nothing will change which is exactly what we are seeing.

Here are 2 of my pertinent writings on this:

  1. Tension within Methods of Exchange (6 pgs)
  2. The Cancer of Capitalism (30 pgs)

Perhaps, the most important of the 2 is the first one. I will give you the last question I ask to the reader in that post:

How can we create a world based on cooperation and peace between Humanity and the Environment when then core driver of Methods of Exchange is based on Competition which powerfully rewards the exploitation of Humanity and the Natural World?

Tension Within Methods of Exchange (Dec 2020) @ Free Xenon

2. Meetings and Agreements are Political Performative Theater

I have also been saying something similar to this for a while in my live stream too:

The COP has turned into a PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains the governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action.

Greta Thunberg Speech @ Conference of the Parties 26 in Glasgow, Scotland (8 Nov 2021)

Climate meetings and agreements are all well and good, and these need to happen, but they are all just political performative theater unless they are binding and there are consequences for not fulfilling the agreement. I say, sure we should sign the Paris Accord as a sign of support, but the accord means nothing because the agreement has NO teeth, no consequences. And no political agreement on climate change will ever matter unless it is politically binding and there are consequences for failing to fulfill the agreement. These meetings and agreements are really there to make people think that things are going to change when in fact they will not, much like she is saying, and as history has definitely shown us this to be the truth. I talk about the meeting and agreement here: The Glasgow Climate Pact from COP26.

Here is a great quote from Jason Hickel, an Economic Anthropologist, from Twitter about this too:

I’ll have faith in the COP process when I see a binding agreement to cap fossil fuel use and scale it down on a clear annual schedule. Until then, it’s basically all just hot air. Twenty-six years of hot air.

Jason Hickel (10 Nov 2021, Twitter)

26 years of political performative theater is what the COP conferences are, and only 1 country is even close to meeting the Paris Climate Accord. How fucked is Humanity really? =O =(

3. The Colonialism of the Global North

And COP26 has been named the most exclusionary COP ever. This is not a conference. This is now a Global North greenwash festival…

Greta Thunberg Speech @ Conference of the Parties 26 in Glasgow, Scotland (8 Nov 2021)
Africa and South America are NOT poor. They are Just being looted by the Global North.
Africa and Central and South America are NOT poor.
They are just being looted by the Global North.

She is exactly on the mark, especially when referring to the majority of countries who are in attendance (as well as those that have the the economic and political power for large scale change) as the Global North which hits the notes of the historical and current colonialism and racism of the US and the EU. The US and Europe are the largest colonizers in human history, and the current Global North’s geopolitics is still just that – colonialist. It is just that the racism inherent to their policies is systemic and structural (not overt and therefore harder to detect) verses being overtly and obviously racist like apartheid and direct human trafficking. The Global North’s colonizing ways are just laden with things like performative platitudes such as #BLM #ClimateCrisis while doing nothing to solve the problem.

The Global North’s colonialism is what fundamentally keeps the Global South (Africa, Central and South America, Middle East) poor. These regions have NEVER been poor. They are just being looted by the colonizers of the Global North (US, Europe, and China too).

I talk about this issue and how we should deal with it in this section of my environmental policies: Bypassing the Harms of Demographic Transitions in the Global South which deals with this issue in 3 major steps (and listing a side benefit):

  • Economic Warfare Through the IMF and World Bank
  • Reparations for Colonialism and Imperialism
  • UBI and a Jobs Guarantee
  • Population Stabilizer as a Side-Benefit

Here are some links that I have covered in my Twitch live stream that talk about the Global North’s colonialism:

  1. Tribalism, Colonialism, and Capitalism [in Ghanna] (Dec 2020)
  2. UN criticises UK for failure to redress colonial-era landgrab in Kenya (The Guardian, Aug 2021)
  3. Who is to blame for Zimbabwe’s land reform disaster? (Aljazeera, Sep 2020) – another topic I did not know about that we covered which looks at British colonialism in Zimbabwe and land rights to arable land. We also talked about reparations too.
  4. A Brief History And Future of Screwing Over Haiti (Some More News, Oct 2021) – we did not watch this, but I wanted to make sure you watched it. Great video!
  5. What China Is Really Up To In Africa ( Forbes, Oct 2019)
  6. How to Achieve Full Decolonization (New Internationalist, Oct 2021) – This is an amazing article by Jason Hickel! I was so inspired by this article that even added a section to one of my post-capitalism posts based on this very concept: Option 5 – The Pan-African Decolonized Union (PADU).

II. Abby Martin’s Question to Nancy Pelosi @ COP26 (10 Nov 2021)

A. Video of Abby’s Question and Frank and Nancy’s Pathetic Non-Answers

Here is the video of the very important question by the amazing Abby Martin of the Empire files:

Abby Martin (10 Nov 2021) – Question to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi

B. Transcript of Question and Answers

Abby Martin’s question:

Speaker Pelosi, you just presided over a large increase in the Pentagon budget. The Pentagon budget is already massive. The Pentagon is a larger polluter than 140 countries combined. How can we seriously talk about Net-Zero if there is this bipartisan consensus to constantly expand this large contributor to climate change, which is exempt from these conferences. The military is exempt from climate talks.

Abby Martin’s Question to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi @ COP26 (10 Nov 2021 )

Here are both Frank and Nancy’s responses which I have cleaned up a little bit for ease of reading:

Representative Frank Pallone’s (Democrat) response:

I just want to use an example, if I can. You know the sea level rise is an important part of what’s happening to the climate, and I am not a defense person, but I’ve had so many talks with the Defense Department, with the Navy, in particular, about how they have to respond to what’s going on, so I really do think that there is no reason why what we’re putting together with Build Back Better and other things can’t respond to the Defense Department and have the same impact in terms of reducing emissions. And, I do think that the Defense Department is very much aware of the fact that they have to play a major role both from a strategic as well as for the good of the world. So, I don’t see what we’re doing in any way or, you know, increasing the defense budget as being something that’s inconsistent with climate action. I really don’t.

Representative Frank Pallone’s (Democrat) response to Abby Martin’s Question @ COP26 (10 Nov 2021 )

Representative Nancy Pelosi’s (Democrat, Speaker of the House) response:

Can I just add that national security advisors all tell us that the climate crisis is a national security matter. It is, of course, a health matter for our children – the water they drink, the way air they breathe, etc. It is a jobs issue between clean, good clean technologies being the future of our workforce and the training for all of that. It is a national security issue because of the all of the conditions that climate crisis produces, I won’t go into all of them, but they do are cause for migration, conflict over habitat and resources, and, again, a security challenge globally, and then the fourth, of course, the moral issue that we need to pass on this planet future generations in a responsible way, Now, recognizing what you said, we recognize that as well. And a big user of fuel, there have been many initiatives over time more successful with more technology to convert from fossil fuel to other other sources of fuel to run the military, because it would make the biggest difference. Transportation, defense – these are two of the biggest, that can make the biggest difference in all of that and that is something we’re very very focused on. As I say, the Defense Department sees this systemically that we have to stop it as a national security issue and one way todo that is to stop our dependence on fossil fuels which exacerbate the climate crisis. 

Representative Nancy Pelosi’s (Democrat, Speaker of the House) response to Abby Martin’s Question @ COP26 (10 Nov 2021)

C. My Thoughts

1. The US Military as a Large Polluter

Abby’s question was very, very important if you are serious about dealing with climate change. She gives an important statistic: “the Pentagon is a larger polluter than 140 countries combined“. My environmental policies approach change from this standpoint too. Here is the first paragraph of that page from my environmental policies:

From the money we gain from ending the US’ Global Terrorism Programs (GTP) we can redirect it into massive infrastructure spending to support a complete shift to sustainable: communities, energy, transport, farming, etc… as well as working towards directly and aggressively combating climate change and global pollution. Working quickly to combat climate change and cleaning up global pollution is an imperative, for if we do not, then Humanity will soon be destroyed by our willful corruption and ignorance.

First Paragraph from Environment and Sustainability @ Interstellar New Deal

And, then I give links to some posts that talk about about this too:

Essentially, without gutting the US’ military spending no work towards dealing with climate change can be done, because of how much it contributes to global pollution.

As as side note, the US is a the 4rth largest exporter of oil in the world, just behind Iraq. Think about that for a moment, too.

2. The Compounding Effects of the US’s Global Terrorism Projects War

Also, I have yet to see a study take into account the direct and indirect effects of the US’ Global Terrorism Projects from coup after coup, and various methods of economic warfare, to the direct warfare inflicted on the Global South too. How much infrastructure is destroyed? How much of the natural world is destroyed with their bombs and drones? How many right-wing leaders are installed by the US which leads to policies and actions that destroy the natural world and their national economies? Look at what happened in Brazil and Amazon Rain Forest as a result of the US’s installation of right-wing dictator there. Calculate the pollution and damage from the US’ terrorism works and add it to their direct carbon pollution and then see how how the US may just be at the top of the list for contributing to climate change globally.

3. Response to Frank and Nancy

Everything they said is a complete word salad, using a lot of words to say nothing to confuse people, so they do not have to really take responsibility for what they are doing:

Build Back Better is anemic and does basically nothing of any real value to address Climate Change at the scale that is really required such as: ending fossil fuel subsidies, ending drilling and fracking, massive subsidies for sustainable energy, and Reparations for the Global South. I have been saying for a while now that: “If a bill passes that is not $10 trillion dollars or more (and guts US military spending) that they are voting for business as usual and voting soundly for Human Extinction.” and that is exactly what we will get if we are lucky to even get that much.

Effectively, the word salad they both subjected us to amounted to something like this, if translated correctly from ‘word salad politi-speak’: “Yes, our US military and National Security Advisors has told us how fucked we are by climate change unless we act accordingly, but our Military Industrial Complex and Fossil Fuel Industry owners told us to ignore all of that technical jibber-jabber because it would negatively effect their profit margins.”

III. Follow and Support Me

A. General Social Media

If you would like more coverage and thoughts like this then please follow me in all of the places:

B. Policy Site

Here are the links to my macro policy site and its social media outlets:

C. Support Me

Liked it? Take a second to support James O'Neill on Patreon!
Tagged
James O'Neill
www.ArionsHome.com/about
http://www.FreeXenon.com

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.