History is about the past but it moves into the future faster than those who make them. It gets into the future the makers can only imagine! Waves of the future are easy to hazard guessed if steps of present wavemakers are marked.
History moves toward ultimate triumph to make villain or victor out of its makers! As America moves away from Trump’s era to Biden’s time, it’s nice to interrogate the crisis of governance in a supposed sanctuary of modern democracy and civilization. It is apt to juxtapose Trump’s policies with the age-long culture of governance that have become the American spirit as well as whether Trump realizes that he leads in an environment that it’s not safe to err!
Donald Trump, President of the United States is a ferocious protectionist and a wavemaker, a history maker too! – powerful force breaker who chose to stand on the way of the Train of climate change, a pugilist in a boxing ring with a virus! He is a man of immense power with lesser wisdom to triangulate in respect of Earth, Climate, and Virus! No matter, the origin, viruses, and mutations are climate-related. COVID-19 cannot be an exemption.
However, it is expected that a person rich in arrogance but poor intolerance will find triangulation of such proportion difficult no matter how simplified!
Climate Change, denied yesterday, bred or filliped the virus of today. We may do all we can to get laboratory certified and ethically approved vaccine for COVID-19, more are still loaded in the cloud of climate we have burnt to ashes. The lid of protection, even from the virulent viruses has been removed.
The earth is boiling! The world is becoming too hot to live in. Climate catalyzed death; diseases and disasters are obvious indicators that the earth is slipping off our hands. The streams of conflict and crises are now having violated climate as their origins of flows. We are frying the air and drying the waters; opportunities for a safe life and secure livelihoods especially in developing states are up in flames. Increasingly, a large number of farmers in Sub – Sahara Africa is vulnerable to the oscillation of weather and climate with dire consequence for yields, output, and income. The harder they work, the poorer they become. On the side of the prosperous North countries, economic considerations are overtaking the thought for humanity and potential generations that will inhabit the earth. Industrialization and industrial complexes are wreaking havoc on the ozone layer. The South is paying for what the North bought. Like other countries of the North, America is a Climate Debtor! Debt, she must pay!
Arguably, climate change aside from being the salient driver of resource drought and ubiquitous mobile violence in Africa is also a vicarious driver of inequality between the North and South.
In human history, threats to Security have never been this massive and fatal. Nowhere in the world is spared of the intrusion of fear and terror precipitated by advancing natural and climate-related emergencies. The Political, economic, and social contexts that tilt the balance against the majority that are poor and being continually impoverished has climate conditioned issues. Livelihood concern is one of these. This excludes people from issues and governance and invariably reinforces vulnerabilities. This should be an issue of concern to the states of the world, including the United States.
The need to refocus global development led to the Sustainable Development Goals’ agenda, which is expected to ensure that no one is left behind in the race to better our world. What happens to Climate and the overall global environment will determine how far we will go with the race. The emerging contexts of climatic topsy-turvy that often set space for conflicts, terror, and emergencies cannot be fully understood and tackled without appreciating the need for climate justice. America, a major contributor to the depletion of the Ozone Layer as well as a major victim of its consequence through terror violence, is germane to realizing the green world’s objectives of the Paris Deal.
The majority of the poor in the South are engaged in weather dependent occupations like agriculture, fishery among others that are susceptible to the vagaries of Climate even though their carbon footprint is faint. If their adaptation is not taken along, it will be foolhardy for Trump to think he can save America against forced migrants who will employ irregular migration as the response strategy to address their own vulnerability. Climate change has been inducing disasters, diseases, and death, all that have severe implications for global peace and development. Hence, the need to work together to manage the risk of climate change should be at the front burner of the global agenda.
If nothing is done to stop the cooks, whose works have left Ozone Layer in flame, human beauty is bound to turn to aches! The 2015 Paris Agreement was put in place as a remedy for the global climate catastrophe. The deal sealed in Paris, France within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was to address greenhouse gas emission; focusing on mitigation, adaptation, and finance. The deal was to prevent or at least, mitigate the acts of the global giants from creating a hellish world, to save the weak from the giants through adaptation and making ‘climate criminals’ pay for the damages caused. The deal was to tilt the world toward restitution, reparation, and restoration.
A form of justice! Climate Justice! One hundred and ninety-five (195) countries including the United States negotiated this agreement on December 12, 2015, at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris. The agreement stretches demonstrable understanding of climate change and consequence on the globe, economies, and states; effects, and impact on every aspect of the lives of the vulnerable people and communities. How the phenomenon is capable of producing stress generates shocks and reinforces inequality. It recognized the need to protect the vulnerable and strengthen their resilience through adaptation.
America is a major and critical stakeholder in mitigating disasters that cannot be prevented. It’s a climate predator as well as a copious emitter of carbon. It has a moral obligation and duty to redeem the earth it has shrunk with others through its activities. The sauna and the fauna she has joined hands together with others to extinguish must be restored. Nobody wants to live in America as President Trump claimed. We want to live on earth together. The renewal option of fulfilling this is to restore its lost value and grace. Paris Deed is a way to achieve this.
We cannot negotiate redemption and remediation of the earth and atmosphere on America’s terms. A just world is imperative to the prosperity of America. Climate Justice built on the Paris Agreement is one way of bringing this to fruition. People from California, Texas, and other parts of America understand this, even with a President with a tragic notion of common humanity! Trump’s chloroquine is the bitter pill America has swallowed for four years to cure her ‘virus’. The viral load is still heavy. The climate of racial chaos and decimation of the global concept of mankind are hitching hunch on America’s back. Trump’s attack on the global climate risk reduction initiative was a globalized tragedy. It lacked the imagination of the future of a world on edge of peril. That tragic day that Trump used pen of policy to thwart over a decade of the effort of the rest of the word on climate justice, he became a fugitive in power. His contributions to economic growth no longer count to the Americans. He became bad weather they could no longer endure!
Gbenro Olajuyigbe is the Executive Director, Emergency & Risk Alert Initiative, Abuja Nigeria