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The COP is DOA

COP 28 has just started, and yet in many ways it was over before it began. The annual conference of the parties is held each year as an international gathering for countries to come together to solve the most universally pressing issue of our time, the climate crisis. At past COPs the event would be greeted by environmental activists and environmentally conscious government officials with great anticipation. And with good reason, sometimes exciting agreements like the Paris Climate accords would even emerge from these conferences, giving signs of seemingly appreciable progress against this slow-rolling global catastrophe.

That progress, however, has proved mostly illusory, as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise nearly unabated, leading to record-shattering temperatures years earlier than anticipated. Despite the need for governments to extricated themselves from fossil fuels, the industry, and the petrochemical dollar are, in many ways, more entrenched than ever in our political system with the proverbial fox now guarding the hen house. This further entrenchment became impossible to ignore, when in a staggering display, the United Arab Emirates was placed in charge of COP 28, putting an oil producing nation center stage for the world’s leading environmental conference.

The more optimistic or naïve might have claimed this was a sea-change of priorities for these petrostates, finally turning over a new leaf, ready to be part of the solution they were so instrumental in abetting. Instead, as most of us suspected, it was a sign that this process had been hijacked, like so many of our governmental processes, by money and power.

Recent coverage from the BBC has revealed just how bald-faced the scam has become: not only are thousands of oil and gas lobbyists attending the so-called climate conference, new reporting has revealed that the UAE is using the COP to sign a record number of new oil and gas deals! Truly a through the Looking Glass type moment. As simultaneously absurd and depressing as this capture is, however, it is unfortunately all l but inevitable in the system we have, where bribing politicians with campaign contributions leads to politics driven by the interests of the donor class instead of a country’s broader populace.

This year’s COP is perhaps the starkest example of the phenomena yet, where action on the existential climate crisis will be kicked down the road in spite of overwhelming global majorities demanding action. To overcome corrupt system and make sure that our climate crises interventions are not merely greenwashing events but true strides towards a more sustainable and equitable future, we will need not just political organizing and power, but economic power as well. We must wrest control of the levers of power from these wealthy and callous fossil fuel interests, and bring control of our economy into the hands of the people. So join us each Tuesday in growing solidarity in our fight to create and equitable, safe, and environmentally sound future for all! Don't shop on Tuesday


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