UN COP27 climate summit Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt nears as extractivism, military spending increases

Published by Brent Patterson on

PBI statement: “At PBI, we are committed to a concept of security linked to protecting human rights and respecting life, ecosystems and common goods.”

Six months from now, on November 7-18, the United Nations COP27 climate summit will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

This is the follow-up to the COP26 talks that took place in Glasgow last year.

It was emphasized at that time that 1,540 land and environmental defenders were killed between 2012 and 2020.

We now know that another 358 human rights defenders were killed in 2021.

The Guardian notes: “Most countries [left the COP26 talks in November 2021] with [aspirational] targets that would imply heating of about 1.9C – a ‘historic’ achievement compared to the 6C of heating we were heading towards a decade ago, but still far off 1.5C, the figure scientists say is the threshold of safety.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has deeply influenced this situation.

The Guardian highlights: “Before the invasion, Germany depended on Russia for about two-thirds of its gas supplies, and the EU for about 40%.”

Given those energy exports help to fund the Russian military, efforts are underway to reduce European dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

But rather than this creating the conditions for a rapid transition to renewable energy, it has sparked the conditions for other countries to export fossil fuels to Europe.

For instance, Canada, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, announced on March 24 that it had the capacity to increase its oil and gas exports by up to 300,000 barrels per day with the intention of displacing Russian oil and gas.

Beyond this, The Guardian adds: “Fossil fuel companies are enjoying a bonanza when they were supposed to be dying out. World leaders, who six months ago were pledging net zero carbon emissions, are now licensing new oil and gas drilling.”

Notably, on April 6 the Canadian government approved the $12 billion Bay du Nord megaproject to extract up to 800 million barrels of crude in the Atlantic Ocean.

Newfoundland and Labrador premier Andrew Furey argues the war in Ukraine has heightened the importance of the Bay du Nord.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also been cited in recent Canadian announcements about military spending.

On March 28, the Canadian government announced that it had entered final negotiations with Lockheed Martin to purchase 88 (carbon-intensive, jet fuel burning) F-35 warplanes.

Then on April 7, the government announced in its federal budget an additional $8 billion in spending on the military over the next five years.

This is on top of its prior commitment to spend $553 billion (more than half a trillion dollars) on the military over a 20 year period.

Similar military budget increases are being seen in Europe.

This includes Germany (whose government announced a €100 billion increase this year), Spain (that could see an increase of €7.2 billion to its annual budget), France (that has pledged to increase military spending to €50 billion from €41 billion by 2025), Belgium (that will see a €1 billion increase), and Italy (now considering a €1.5 billion increase).

In the United Kingdom, the Opposition is now calling for an increase in the current £46.2 billion military budget.

Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine has been a windfall for the Swiss arms industry.

Rather than building toward peace and climate justice, the world is seeing an entrenchment of militarism and extractivism.

The Peace Brigades International statement on the war in Ukraine highlighted: “In a global scenario marked by the climate emergency, the desire to stop financing the Russian military by stopping Russian oil and gas exports to Europe must not result in more extractivism instead of climate action.”

Our statement also noted: “The dominant security discourse associated with the militarization of societies is a setback. Billions more spent on weapons will not make the world safer.”

As COP27 approaches amid concerns about the ability to protest in Egypt, PBI continues to accompany frontline social and environmental justice defenders and expresses concern about militarism and the billions being spent on arms.

Please join us on Tuesday May 31 at 2:30 pm EST (8:30 pm CEST) when PBI accompanied defenders Berenice Celeita of the Association for Research and Social Action (Colombia) and Quetzalli Villanueva of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre (Mexico) along with Rachel Small (World Beyond War) and  Tunkwa Dene Uldai (Denesuline land defender) will talk about Canadian arms exports, militarization of territory and the imperative of social and environmental justice.

You can register here now.

PBI accompanied human rights defenders Berenice Celeita and Quetzalli Villanueva.

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