The recent UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) report is frightening! The report state unequivocally that human activity, primarily economic, has warmed the climate at an unprecedented rate in the last 2000 years. It fears that catastrophe awaits humanity in the coming decades without urgent and radical restraints towards the planet. In this vein, Religious leaders and scientists under the aegis Faith for Earth initiative have made a passionate appeal to governments because of the ongoing COP26 meeting, begging for more ambitious decisions to forestall the collapse of the only human support system. Of what use is the whole effort to live on Mars and other planets when we cannot maintain the Earth, our own. Similarly, Civil Society groups from different parts of the world have been calling for more ambitious commitments to climate action.

The media, too, is equally agog with the calls to various governments for more ambitious commitments during the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Despite these heartwarming messages, the body language of these governments says something different. There is no coherence between what is projected as their position for climate and their economic and political decisions choices. The climate crisis of today is the harvest of the economic and political choices of yesteryears. Therefore, if we want to prevent the complete collapse of the only human support system in the coming years, it is imperative to make different economic and political choices. It is outright insanity to repeatedly do things the same way and expect to get a different result. So far, there is little or no congruency between the economic and political decisions of the various Western World governments and their climate commitments. The impression is that; the climate crisis and the economy are different and unconnected; nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, they are not only connected; they are both sides of the same coin. Therefore any climate commitment must be congruent with any government’s economic and political choices.

It is providential and noteworthy that these intergovernmental processes are all taking place now. The vibrations from the summits and meetings make it easy to see how the economic and political choices of the state actors are inconsistent with their climate commitments. September 23, 2021, the UN food system summit was everything but short of the ambition for agroecology and more sustainable local food systems. It was business as usual where industrial chemical corporations and their lobbyists took control. Sadly, industrial agriculture and its associated large-scale land acquisitions constitute a significant contributor to climate change. In fact the IPCC underlines that industrial agriculture is responsible for 21 to 37% of GHG emission. The chemicals they use are by their nature designed to kill or alter the biosystems, and any form of agriculture that employs chemical fertilizer disrupts the ecosystem and contributes to the climate crisis. In the same vein, the Finance in Common Summit took place on October 19, 2021. The public development banks that it sought to galvanize their finance for agriculture are well known to be funders of industrial agriculture and their research. In the same vein, the rich countries of the global north are standing on the way of having an internationally binding treaty that would hold trans-national corporations accountable for their ecological destructions and Human rights violations, especially in the global south.

However, it is alarming and worrisome that some countries and corporations are lobbying to change a crucial scientific report on tackling climate change. Nothing could be more shameful! This kind of revelation questions ab initio the credibility of the outcome of the COP26. Their economic investments inform the lobby of these countries and the corporations. It is a choice between national financial interests and the common good of our human support system. It appears that China and Australia, for example, would prefer the collapse of the planet to a  transition from coal and fossil fuel out of the energy supply system because of their huge investments in them all over the world. It is yet to reason what it will benefit from gaining the whole and losing their own life (Mark 8:36)

Indeed, the root of the climate emergency is ethical. Is it possible to have ethics of life that supports a good environment and promotes industrial agriculture at the same time? We have a moral obligation toward future generations to inherit a livable planet and not the calamities we caused. Once again, it is time for us to make concrete decisions about our consumption behaviours, live in harmony with nature, and leave the next generation a healthy planet. It is an ethical imperative of immense proportion for which posterity will commend or condemn this generation. Indeed, it is a moment to break or make what we consider our collective hope!

Chika Onyejiuwa