Over 200 academics from around the world have criticised the ‘corporate-capture’ of the Glasgow climate summit and are calling for a Real Green Revolution to soften the breakdown of societies. After the UNFCCC COP26 Draft Overarching Decision was released, they signed a public letter. The full list of signatories from more than 30 countries follows below. Follow reaction via: http://twitter.com/scholarswarning
The letter is titled: ‘An International Scholars’ Warning on the Corporate-Capture of the Climate Agenda and Need for a Real Green Revolution’ and appears in The Independent newspaper:
Earlier this year, the official international summary of climate science announced we face increasing disasters and disruptions, with the most vulnerable suffering the most and soonest. A leaked report from the same UN process identified the need for a transformation in our economic systems for a meaningful attempt to limit loss and damage.
Yet at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, no plan for a justice-based economic transformation was launched. Worse, voluntary business commitments distracted from the economic policies necessary to reduce atmospheric carbon and prepare for worsening disruption. That is despite decades of voluntary initiatives not delivering significant impacts on the climate. It is both unscientific and unethical to deny that our economic system is at fault, so must be transformed to reduce climate risk and adapt to the difficulties. To ignore that reality, plans are afoot to waste huge sums of money on energy-hungry yet atmospherically insignificant carbon capture machines.
Political leaders could instead level with their populations about necessary changes in industries and lifestyles. Respecting climate justice, they could take immediate steps to reduce inequality both nationally and globally – key for any changes in livelihoods to be fair and lasting.
We are hundreds of scholars from dozens of countries, who are grieving the situation but determined not to ignore it. We believe that the corporate capture and failure of COP26 clearly show that people in communities and organisations must now lead our own emergency response. That includes coordinated radical policy advocacy from outside of a corporate-driven system, for a Real Green Revolution that will significantly reduce and drawdown emissions, regenerate nature and help us adapt. It also includes growing community-led Deep Adaptation efforts independently of governments and transnational corporations.
The hot air from Glasgow means it's time for more honest and radical leadership. We must call out the fantasy that dangerous global heating will not get worse or that the largest corporations will come to our rescue. When we escape such delusion, we can contribute to a different way forward - one we hope governments will join when they escape the constraints of business-as-usual.
Sample signatories: Dr. Malika Virah-Sawmy, IAAS-Potsdam, Germany and Mauritius; Professor Dr. Jem Bendell, University of Cumbia and co-editor Deep Adaptation, UK; Dr. Yves Cochet, Former Minister of the Environment, France, Institut Momentum, France; Professor Eva Lantsoght, Professor, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador; Professor William Rees, Professor Emeritus Ecological Economics, University of British Columbia, Canada; Dr. Aurelien Barrau, Professor of Astrophysics, Universite Grenoble-Alpes, France; James Engell, Professor, Harvard University Center for the Environment, US; Professor Yin Paradies, Professor of Race Relations, Deakin University, Australia; Dr. Rupert Read, University of East Anglia, UK; Dr. Igor Polskiy, board member, GEN-Russia, Russia; Dr. Carola Kloeck, Assistant professor, Sciences Po Paris, France; Dr. Lajos Brons, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Lakeland University Japan; Dr. Morgan Phillips, Director, The Glacier Trust, UK.
Meet the signatories
Dr Malika Virah Sawmy is from Mauritius, and for a decade worked on sustainable development in Africa, with WWF, UNDP and others. Now she is on the board of the Deep Adaptation Forum, which focuses on collapse readiness. She hosted an emotions sharing space within the blue zone at COP26:
"I grieve that neither the climate revolution nor the participation revolution will happen in the intergovernmental sphere. At a time of crisis, I am in pain that COP26 is being felt by the global South as the least inclusive COP. A 21 year old Latvian shared her wisdom with me at COP26. " I see that we cannot change decision making here (at COP26)", she said, "but we can escape the delusion that they will do it for us. We can return to our communities open eyed and contribute from the ground to a new climate revolution".
Professor Jem Bendell teaches a sustainable leadership course at the University of Cumbria and has over 100 publications on the topic of corporate sustainability. He led the team that drafted the letter:
“For decades, since 1995, I promoted voluntary corporate alliances for sustainability. Today it’s concerning to see them used as an excuse for government inaction on the kind of economic transformation needed to save lives as our climate goes crazy. Those of us who have experience in corporate sustainability and responsible finance know that despite decades of effort it has not significantly reduced the destruction of our planetary home. Those efforts could only ever be a complement to bold government action to redesign the basics of our economy, including banking and corporate law.”
Professor Bendell is now the publisher of the Deep Adaptation Quarterly, which explores readying for societal disruption and collapse. He continues:
"I think it is time my colleagues in the corporate sustainability field say publicly what they know privately. Which is that our economic system is at fault for the climate and ecological crisis, and whereas voluntary responses won't transform everything sufficiently, they can distract us from challenging power. Let's not be complicit in the lie that survival through reform is possible. Executives can keep improving their organisations, but not pretend that's the answer to our predicament. Instead, we can join efforts towards a Real Green Revolution. We can then open up to learning what kept us so cautious for so long and learn from the people and knowledge we previously ignored."
Dr. Virah-Sawmy at COP26, third from left, with colleagues after facilitating Deep Adaptation sessions for delegates. Free of copyright or credits.
Full list of signatories in alphabetical order
'The International Scholars Warning on the Corporate-Capture of the Climate Agenda and Need for a Real Green Revolution' is a public letter released on Friday November 12th 2021. All the following persons have PhDs or professional doctorates. Their institutional affiliation is shown for information only, as they all signed in a personal capacity. The letter is now closed to new signatures. If you have a doctorate you can consider signing the ‘International Scholars Warning on Societal Disruption and Collapse’, via www.scholarswarning.net
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