Like other leaders who attended the first days of the Climate Summit (COP28), held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, President Gustavo Petro only had three minutes to speak. In the most important meeting on climate change in the world, which brought together more than 97,000 participants, he chose to give a speech that mixed the inequality of climate change, the “genocide of Gaza” and even Hitler.
“CO2 emissions can also be measured in terms of social inequality. The rich emit the most carbon, the poor the least. This social inequality is the reason why the objective of the Paris COP,” were the first words he spoke. He did so in reference to the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, where it was established that countries should prevent the global average temperature from rising above more than 2 °C compared to pre-industrial times and “making every effort to limit even more. temperature increase of 1.5 °C.”
Petro’s speech began with an important climate thread. But as he spoke about wealth inequality and emissions between countries, his words became more challenging. “The American dream, comfort in Europe, the catch-up syndrome in China and India, is based on the full consumption of carbon,” he said. “It is consumption based on the death of others.”
Then he suggested an exercise. “We imagine a fusion, a combination of facts: the projection of the climate crisis in five or ten years and the current genocide of the Palestinian people. Are these events disconnected or can we see a mirror in the near future? The genocide and barbarism unleashed on the Palestinian people is what awaits the exodus of the southern people unleashed by the climate crisis,” he continued. “But this great exodus has answers in the north (.. .) Hitler knocked on the doors of the homes of the European and North American middle class and many have let him in,” he said.
“The exodus will be met with great violence. With barbarism itself. What we are seeing in Gaza is a rehearsal for the future. Why are major carbon consuming countries allowing the systematic killing of thousands of children in Gaza? Because Hitler has entered their homes and they are preparing to defend their high level of carbon consumption and reject the exodus it causes.”
At the end of his speech, the president talked about the country’s proposals against climate change. He asked to make the COP plans strong, to achieve planning for the transition towards a decarbonized economy and, once again, discussed the exchange of public debt for the issuance of special rights to draw. “We also proposed strengthening and reforming the United Nations, we stopped signing coal, oil and gas exploration contracts, and we dismantled the gasoline subsidy,” he said. “We are advocating for a global ban on fracking.”
When Petro finished his remarks, more than nine minutes had passed on the COP28 clock.