During the Bordeaux event, Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, ambassador for oceans and the poles, discussed the challenges of climate justice for the Climate Liberation Tour.

Are COPs the most effective platforms for representing the voices of Southern countries?

COPs are impressive because they ensure equal representation for all nations. You hear expressions from indigenous peoples, and many attendees wear traditional attire, with Western business suits not being predominant. While the tone is often set by the economies and thus the major capitalist Western nations, the geopolitical direction is influenced by smaller Southern states. The United Nations system is notably egalitarian, with these smaller states playing a pivotal role in driving progress, especially concerning climate issues. It’s important to realize that every year, representatives from all corners of the globe gather to discuss climate matters. Such a forum doesn’t exist for economic issues. While compromises are made, progress is being achieved…

Can Northern countries successfully persuade others to embrace degrowth?

On the topic of degrowth, I hold reservations. While it may seem a reasonable path, I don’t believe people desire reduced wealth, less travel, or decreased consumption, opting for bicycles over cars. It’s unrealistic to envision degrowth as a global model. I see it more as a utopian concept.

What measures should be implemented to achieve climate justice?

Firstly, Northern countries must honor their greenhouse gas emission reduction plans. I advocate for « name and shame » tactics to hold them accountable. If commitments are made, they must be upheld. Additionally, there should be solidarity mechanisms in neighborly relations. For instance, major Asian countries bear responsibility toward their neighbors, not only by hosting refugees in climate disasters but also by aiding in infrastructure development, such as building levees. Cooperation among neighbors is crucial.

Other financing ideas could include a tax on maritime transportation. Given that 90% of global trade occurs via oceans, some carriers evade tolls. Implementing a tax on polluters could incentivize decarbonization efforts. If a country realizes that its container ships cost €400 million each month, it will reconsider its practices.

Ultimately, do you have faith in the planet’s future?

The solution won’t come overnight. What’s needed is an environmental equivalent of Robert Badinter—someone deeply committed to their convictions. Perhaps this is what politics lacks: individuals with humanistic ideals. I’m fortunate to have a role in advocating for these issues. Let’s work together to build a better world.

Source: Libération

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