The buzz word of worldwide news seems to be related to the global conference of the United Nations COP26, currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland. It has been an extended and broad meeting, as the consequences of climate change have become acceptable for public attention on a world stage. Beyond political obfuscation of the past decades, scientific reasoning and facts seem to be becoming more understood worldwide.
For many, their understanding of complex scientific findings have been simplified and communicated in the language of the non-scientific majority. For low-lying island and coastal communities, the flooding of their homes is a question of “seeing is believing”. It is like Third World Band playing “96 degrees in the shade; entertainment for you martyrdom for me”.
The destruction of mangroves; dead and dying coral reefs; garbage choking the rivers and oceans; human faeces; ships discharging sewage in ports and on the high seas; and other man-made toxic chemicals are a common feature in the killing of Planet Earth. Yet we fail to accept that money cannot save us from death that results from our carelessness and greed.
Many Hollywood movies have been produced dealing with the destruction of mankind. 2012; Virus; Armageddon; and others running the gamut of climate change; nuclear war; meteor impact; volcanic eruption; extreme climate change; and other apocalyptic events. The others include aliens who need our water and minerals; blood and genetics; or simply desire conquest as they flee from their own dead planets.
But the impacts on our planet of human actions that are defined by neglect and greed have been far surpassed by the activity of seeking power through politics and control of people by governments and large corporations. The latter will define the success or failure of the environment in the pursuit of “filthy lucre” (aka dutty money).
So as we seek to predict the future outcomes of COP26 we must be fully aware of promises made and promises broken in appeasing the rich and careless. In particular I will try to look at the power influence on small developing states in the Caribbean as they interact with global corporations. In general we have been manipulated by Britain; Spain; France; Portugal; The Netherlands; and the USA.
In many cases we were seen as a source of agricultural inputs at the unprocessed stage as raw materials to feed the factories of the Developed Countries. Raw sugar; bananas; citrus; pimento; coffee; nutmeg; timber; formed the basis of interest in Caribbean suppliers. Overseas policy towards the region was deeply influenced by large corporations who used money and threats to control their governments. They were the influential “King makers” often offered Charters by European governments allowing the growth in opium and other drugs.
Industrialization and war expanded the agricultural focus to inorganic raw materials. This focused attention on oil exploration; bauxite; silica; diamonds; and all were associated with cheap labour and inadequate real investment. The low royalty regime forced the poor into squatting; inadequate investment; zero tax incentives; and a gradual sellout of lands; leaving the poor poorer; and introducing corruption across the entire spectrum.
Now, here is a real current dilemma. Exxon now “owns” the great oil finds in the waters of Guyana (and possibly Suriname). The payments to Guyana are as paltry as Jamaica’s bauxite levy. Neither has been adequate or transformational. As a result, Guyana’s unrealized assets (oil) have placed them in a position where borrowing against future cash flow is favourable, and it could potentially become a debt trap. The Chinese have strategically been involved in the development of a hydroelectric facility (no doubt including payment through land ownership).
The same goes for neighbouring Suriname. Venezuela is a real example of unrealized cash flows and victims of political opinions, and now they are seriously descending from riches to rags, mainly due to oil. Again, the owners of valuable assets are held to ransom by the greed of the developed world.
So if the UN COP26 agrees and limits fossil fuel emissions then the USA; Britain; Venezuela; Saudi Arabia; and Iraq, will probably not agree to systematically reduce output. The historically used strategy of divide and conquer; destabilization; fomenting civil conflict; arms support to both sides; and direct invasion; will be resurrected at the behest of the political funders.
Similarly the countries involved in coal mining will face political pressures at home and that could include the USA; China; India; and Australia. This will encourage “the lungs of Earth — Brazil; Guyana; parts of Africa; and South East Asia — to push for their own price penalties to be imposed for not destroying their important forested areas, (in a kind of pay for oxygen deal).
Let us understand that there is a price for not going green, and that oxygen is no longer free. The costs involved in reducing global temperature increases are high enough as already predicted, but not enough to allow the appropriate survival actions to be dictated. However, there is a major caveat.
Governments who adopt the “green path” can easily be compromised and overthrown by large corporate money donations. This action directly impacts those of us who are getting closer to inundation. No more exotic South Sea islands; Polynesia; Cook Islands; Solomon Islands; Lime Cay; Maiden Cay; Pedro Banks and many other fishing settlements. It may be timely to rebuild The Ark.
The public education will have to be phenomenal and be designed for every sector of people from First Nations, Aboriginal; Forest tribes of South America; Eskimos; and even Caribbean people who unwittingly destroy important habitats. A failure to do this will necessitate a total space programme to travel to another suitable planet in a far-away galaxy. Star Trek and Star Wars may not be far away.
Finally, do not make the mistake to think that the international pressure on aligned tax havens like Channel Islands; Cayman; Turks and Caicos; Bermuda; (all related to Britain); The US Virgin Islands; to name a few, will be of any significance in comparison to that visited on St. Lucia, Barbados, and Jamaica (who aspires to have the offshore presence).
Please pay careful attention to the aftermath of the conference analyzing the survivalist “thrill of victory or the agony of defeat” by our island, or lower than sea-level countries. This may cause an international crisis, and new alliances will emerge in response. It is a time to choose your friends wisely as the aftermath of the conference will establish a new world order.