Environment

Asad Rehman: We will not let you sacrifice us for profit

In a fiery COP27 speech, PI Council member and Executive Director of War on Want Asad Rehman condemns the climate culpability of the Global North.
We fight for a world where everyone has the right to live with dignity and in harmony with the planet. For us, justice matters. Human rights matter.
We fight for a world where everyone has the right to live with dignity and in harmony with the planet. For us, justice matters. Human rights matter.

Leaders of developed countries have stood at this very podium claiming that they want to defend 1.5 degrees, that they believe in the science, that people matter, that they care. Empty words. Hypocritical words. Lies. 

You have left us standing on the edge of the precipice, facing multiple and interconnected crises. Climate catastrophe. Unjust debt. Global inequality and poverty. Hunger. Biosphere and ecosystems collapsing. 

It’s not that you aren't acting — you are. From climate laggards to climate criminals. 

You say equity and historical responsibility don’t matter, and refuse to do your fair share with net zero goals. You burn down other peoples’ homes and then claim you can’t be held responsible. Instead of a loss and damage fund and climate reparations, you offer insurance schemes. You break your promises on climate finance with more debt-creating loans. You can finance wars, but say you can’t finance adaptation. You expand oil gas and coal back home when we need an equitable phasedown of all fossil fuels now. You turn these climate negotiations into a trade fair, and let those who profit from fueling climate disaster sit at the table peddling false solutions while those who defend our planet and its people sit in jails. 

For centuries, you looted the wealth and resources of the Global South, rigged the global economy with unjust trade rules, forced austerity on the poor, and peddled discredited neoliberal trickle-down economic policies. For you, the lives of Black, Brown, Indigenous and the poor are disposable. For us, they are non-negotiable. 

You offer us nothing but bitter and poisoned tears, but we will not let you sacrifice us for profit. We fight for a world where everyone has the right to live with dignity and in harmony with the planet. For us, justice matters. Human rights matter. 

And in the words of Alaa Abd El Fattah: we are not yet, and we will never be, defeated.

Asad Rehman is the Executive Director of the radical anti-poverty and social justice charity War on Want. He was a founder of the Stop the War Coalition and the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, amongst other initiatives. He has also served on boards of Amnesty International UK, Friends of the Earth International, Global Justice Now, and Newham Monitoring Project.

Help us build the Wire

The Wire is the only planetary network of progressive publications and grassroots perspectives.

The mission of the Wire is bold: to take on the capitalist media by creating a shared space for the world’s radical and independent publications, building a coalition that is more than the sum of its parts.

Together with over 40 partners in more than 25 countries — and the relentless efforts of our team of translators — we bring radical perspectives and stories of grassroots struggles to a global audience.

If you find our work useful, help us continue to build the Wire by making a regular donation. We rely exclusively on small donors like you to keep this work running.

Support
Available in
EnglishPortuguese (Brazil)Spanish
Author
Asad Rehman
Date
18.11.2022

More in Environment

Environment
2020-12-04

Kai Bosworth: Climate Populism & its Limits

Receive the Progressive International briefing
Site and identity: Common Knowledge & Robbie Blundell