5% of the Globe’s Population Uses 25% of its Resources – Vijay Prashad

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow, Scotland, was controversial, to say the least. Greenhouse gas was this year’s central topic. With the rising global temperature and natural disasters (hurricanes, heatwaves, fires, droughts, etc.), lowering emissions is a must.

According to NPR, emissions need to fall 45% by 2030 to reduce the globe’s temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). But emissions are still expected to rise 14% in the next nine years.

Over 100 countries signed a pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. However, according to an analysis from the International Energy Agency, the pledges won’t lower emissions fast enough to keep the world’s temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Another major point argued was the billions of dollars natural disasters—that mostly stem from rising greenhouse gas emissions—cost poorer countries. Droughts have wiped out crops, and rising sea levels have forced entire villages to relocate. And developed countries have yet to make do with their promise to provide the $100 billion in climate finance to help poor nations reduce their emissions with renewable energy. In fact, the money that was sent to struggling countries was sent in the form of loans, which keeps them in a state of dependency and impoverishment.

Many would describe this behavior as “colonial,” and no one brought that point home at this year’s conference harder than Indian historian and journalist Vijay Prashad.

Prashad argued that the colonial mindset countries like the United States have is the reason why progress isn’t being made. A country that makes up 5% of the globe’s population uses 25% of its resources. He also called out the contradicting blame America puts on China for coal production and rising emissions when America outsources all production to China.

“You (United States) love lecturing us because you have a colonial mentality. Then there are colonial structures and institutions that lend us money, which is our money. The IMF comes to our societies, you give us our money back as debt and lecture us on how we should live.”

“US uses 25% of the world’s resources. It outsources all production to China and blames it for being a carbon polluter. China produces your buckets, your nuts and bolts, your phones. Why don’t you produce your own nuts and bolts? And then we can talk about carbon emissions.”

He continued by criticizing the Climate Justice Movement. The movement asks countries to reduce consumption, but 2.7 billion people can’t eat right now.

“Let me tell you something, the climate justice movement is not clued in enough. Its slogan is: ‘We are worried about our future’. Children in Latin America, the African continent, Asia don’t have a future. They don’t even have a present. This is a middle class, bourgeois western slogan. We have to be worried about now.”

“How does this sound to a child who hasn’t eaten in days? The climate justice movement will have no legs in the third world if it is not clued in.”

Many have called for richer and developed nations to take responsibility for mitigating climate change and assist underdeveloped nations. But doing this would force them to reassess their “acquired” resources and expose too much. And as a Westerner who’s been fed lies since Pre-K, taking that type of accountability won’t happen anytime soon.

Until Next Time…


Photo Credit: Radical Notes

Sommer, L. (2021, November 13). Here’s what world leaders agreed to — and what they didn’t — at the U.N. climate summit. NPR. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2021/11/13/1055542738/cop26-climate-summit-final-decision. 

5% of the Population Using 25% of Global Resources: Historian Vijay Prashad Schools US on Climate Change. News 18. (2021, November 22). Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.news18.com/news/india/5-of-the-population-using-25-of-global-resources-historian-vijay-prashad-schools-us-on-climate-change-4472225.html. 


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