Bolivia’s President Luis Acre has called for abandonment of “green capitalism” and for better international cooperation on climate change. He questioned whether rich countries would live up to their responsibility and made the case for climate justice at the World Climate Summit in Glasgow.
Bolivia is a member of the Like Minded-Group of Developing Countries (LMDC). It is a group of developing countries who organise themselves as a block in negotiators in international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. The member countries represent more than 50% of the world’s population.
The following the LMDC countries negotiate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, ElSalvador, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan,Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Vietnam.
At the COP26 conference the African nations and the 24 LMDC nations (including China and India) accused the rich donor countries of ducking substantive talks on finance for developing countries to combat climate change..
President Luis Arce opposes re-colonisation by the Western ‘green capitalism’
In his speech at the UN World Climate Conference (COP26) in the Scottish city of Glasgow, Bolivia’s President Luis Arce reproached the industrialised countries for their climate policies. They would promote a new process of global recolonisation, which he called “carbon colonialism”. Arce also called for leaving “green capitalism” behind.
“We need to be aware that developed countries around the world are pushing a new process of recolonisation, which we can call new carbon colonialism, because they are trying to impose their own rules of the game in the climate negotiations in order to further strengthen the new green capitalist system, and they are demanding that developing countries adopt these rules of the game without any choice,” Arce elaborated.
“We have the impression that the developed countries are simply stalling for time, without any sense of responsibility towards humanity and Mother Earth, and their credibility is in danger,” he added.
The global capitalist system, based on unrestrained consumption and irrational exploitation of nature and the atmosphere, cannot solve the climate crisis unless there is a fundamental change of direction in its economic and social system, he said. The solution to the climate crisis will not be achieved through “green capitalism”, but only through a change in the model of civilisation, the Bolivian president affirmed before the delegates in Glasgow. It is about an alternative model to capitalism with the goal of a good life in harmony with Mother Earth, Arce stressed.
He also accused the industrialised countries of constructing a discourse in which they “appear as champions of the fight against the climate crisis by talking about a neutral emissions balance by 2050”. If they really wanted to take a leadership role, they would have to advocate for an equitable distribution of atmospheric space with common but differentiated responsibilities.
Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Diego Pary, also made the Andean country’s position clear in an interview with La Razón Radio: “Bolivia is a developing country, a country that is not responsible for most of the world’s pollution, and that’s why we believe that developed countries must live up to their responsibilities.”
Arce and Pary refer to the Paris Climate Agreement’s principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” (CBDR-RC). This means that global climate protection is a common task for all states, but that the individual states should participate according to their respective causal contributions as well as their national realities, capacities and levels of development.
Accordingly, the Andean nation demands that the only real solution to limit the temperature increase to above 1.5 degrees Celsius lies in the distribution of the carbon budget among nations, based on climate justice criteria and according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
Arce had already announced in advance that he would advocate for climate justice in the negotiations in bilateral meetings and conferences during his visit to Glasgow.
The so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in which the countries define their national climate targets and the ways to achieve them, are considered crucial for the success of the Paris Agreement. The agreement stipulates that all signatory countries revise their NDCs at regular five-year intervals in order to make climate protection measures more ambitious.
Arce now also stated that his country is in the process of finalising its revised NDCs. These are to define the country’s national commitment to climate change by 2030 in the agriculture, water, energy and forestry sectors.
Already in August, the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance (Alba), to which Bolivia also belongs, had warned against neocolonial tendencies of the industrialised countries in the fight against climate change in a preparatory meeting for the climate summit.