In a new era of climate action, King Charles is MIA – POLITICO

Abdoulie Ceesay is the Deputy Majority Leader of the National Assembly of The Gambia. He is also a member of the Gambian Delegation to African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the EU Parliamentary Assembly and founder of the Help Foundation Gambia.

As a Gambian, I watched the actions of Britain’s new king with great hope.

You may think this strange. After all, Africa still relies on centuries of Western colonial exploitation – a legacy that filled the coffers of the North while depleting our natural resources, leaving us impoverished and vulnerable to the worst effects of climate change.

However, the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP27 was a historic opportunity for the so-called “climate king” to help address the dangerous lack of understanding that threatened to bring the climate negotiations to a halt.

A historic opportunity that he will unfortunately miss.

The fact is that the richest in the world are almost entirely responsible for historic emissions. Last year’s COP26 – which King Charles opened – failed the Global South and did not do enough to shape the kind of global cooperation needed to tackle climate change.

Pledges made at COP26 have not reduced carbon emissions, and we are still waiting for the $100 billion pledged to help developing countries. Meanwhile, in the wake of the destruction in Central Africa, Pakistan and beyond, the call for reparations and accountability from the West is only growing.

But Western leaders are actively ignoring climate justice. Former United States Secretary of State John Kerry recently dismissed the prospect of « loss and damage » compensation, questioning which government owns the « trillions of dollars » demanded by – or, as some think, are due to – the countries of the South.

This is ultimately, a matter of climate justice – a matter that will make or break an alliance for climate action between North and South.

And Charles could have helped overcome that trust deficit – not by making promises or participating in political discussions, but by standing above politics, from a position of moral leadership, the world would be have to notice it.

COP27 was an opportunity for him to use his rank to usher in a new era of climate action, an era built on the social capital of the Royal Family and the Church of England, demonstrating to opponents that the monarchy Britain still has a relevant role in the modern era. leadership.

It has already been done. The late Queen Elizabeth countered the legacy of colonialism that marked our lands. She won hearts and minds across the region through her connections with African leaders like Nelson Mandela and her influence behind the scenes in lobbying the South African government over its institutionalized racist segregation. Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney credited Charles’ mother with helping to end apartheid in South Africa.

Today, climate experts, former royal advisers and even the Australian Prime Minister all say Charles is one of the most important climate advocates of our time. Even when the environment was hardly on most people’s agenda, he resisted criticism for his stance on pollution and even took fury from British officials for his outspoken opposition to the evacuation of wastewater in the North Sea.

And the world needs moral leaders now more than ever. The global challenges we face, particularly irreversible climate change, come at a time of heightened polarization and mistrust. Moral leaders can help unite people against common threats by symbolically guiding public opinion and promoting shared values.

Faith leaders, for example, are transforming the once contentious relationship between climate change and faith. Even Pope Francis has called for “radical” climate action. And Dr Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa – a prominent Muslim scholar and secretary general of the world’s largest Islamic NGO, the Muslim World League – is building a groundbreaking coalition of climate, science and climate leaders. the faith in the countries of the South, known as Faith for our planet.

For his part, the King has spent his life traveling, building relationships with countries in the global South and advocating for climate action through unprecedented philanthropic work. By snubbing COP27 at the behest of his Prime Minister, he is undermining his legacy, changing the way history will remember him.

Had he used his moral leadership on the world stage, Charles might also retain greater loyalty within the Commonwealth – after all, from Antigua to Barbuda, votes are slated to remove him as head of state.

Saddest of all, however, his absence grants approval for a far more destructive legacy – that of colonial rule. It will essentially tell the people of the 56 Commonwealth countries and beyond that they have been left to deal with the destruction that the empire has helped to shape.

The world is getting closer and closer to planetary catastrophe. War, food shortages and displacement require leadership from the monarch to inspire humanitarian action and influence compassionate climate solutions that transcend petty partisan politics.

The King has a duty, to the country and to God, and to the future of humanity, not to abandon his legacy at this year’s COP27. Because if he does, not only will it harm the planet, but it will also implicitly endorse one of the darkest chapters in history, cementing the dispute between North and South once and for all.

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