Are Climate Funds Charity?
Such question emerges, personally, when public looks for a climate justice. Writ large, the Paris Agreement has brought us to another side of climate crisis understanding. Where carbon emissions reduction, deforestation and upgrading degraded land are the only way forward. Every country should take responsibility in order to avoid a climate calamity. And for those reason, rich countries promised to assist poor countries to achieve their targets in emissions reduction and deforestation. That is why so-called climate funds is heating the climate activism.
Just a friendly reminder, the rich countries have already pledged to provide USD 100 billion annually to assist poor countries to meet their target in net zero emission and deforestation. Ironically, the money has never existed. And again, the same promise was made at UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow 2021. It remains to be seen whether the pledges will ever materialize.
If one way or another, the pledges do not materialize, human may have a horrible climate catastrophic in the end. In another word, we will suffer a great deal. Rich countries may be able to mitigate the extreme heat wave with their money and technology. They even can make their houses relatively comfortable to live in. But the poor countries will be sweating inside and outside of their living place. We will say good bye to many coastal cities that fall, unable to survive.
Despite the uncertainty rich countries pledge, the state does have a critical role to play. Internally, the state can enforce the law, impose new regulations and require corporations to assist marginalized people. Not merely by giving them vouchers, but more than that. Creating an ecosystem that brings the people as part of a business system. Because in reality, people, especially the poor, have been excluded from the system. It might be safe if we touted that in many countries, the political elite are married to business enterprises. The notion of equality still become a hollow notion, an empty word.
Back to the climate funds. Are they in shape of charity? Well, according to the paragraphs above, I don’t think so. Because a hundred billion dollars promise for climate mitigation, from rich countries, still do not materialize. A recent initiative emerges from grass root movement, so-called climate donation or climate charity, for salvaging the poorer. In other words, they still see climate funds as charity or corporate social responsibility (CSR).
In addition, equality is not a matter of charity or CSR. It is a dimension of rights; it is a human right. Equality requires political determination and acknowledgement that we are all equal regardless of where we come from. Last but not least, inequality is a contagious thing. But, the idea of equality is more contagious.