Why we need to rethink geo-economics to beat climate change.


On Mousuni Island - a part of the Indian Sunderbans with a rich ecosystem and UNESCO World Heritage site status - the climate crisis has already threatened to push its approximately 13 million people and the endangered Bengal tiger to their limit. Within the 4,000-square-mile archipelago, 70% of the land is just a few feet above sea level. In some parts of the region, the sea is already advancing about 200 yards a year, causing residents of Mousuni Island to leave entirely and putting them on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Climate change has landed and is taking human life, undermining livelihoods, destroying infrastructure, shaking national economies and stressing state budgets. According to a new SIPRI report, climate change is transforming and redefining the global security landscape and the implications of climate change for peace and security have become increasingly embedded within the security discourse.

The economic imperatives of industries to help raise living standards and global economic interdependence are increasingly threatened by climate change too. Take Ghana and the Ivory Coast, which account for roughly 19% and 45% of global cocoa bean production respectively, according to data from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). On July 16 2019, the two nations gave in to pressure from the global chocolate industry and lifted a month-long ban on cocoa sales that was meant to push international buyers to accept a new minimum pricing agreement.

Despite slightly boosting earnings for West African cocoa farmers in the short-term, it is still far from the $2,600-a-tonne minimum price which Ghana and the Ivory Coast were aiming for. This is especially a major setback for the Ivory Coast which has suffered devastating levels of deforestation and economic distress due to low margins on cocoa sales.

As per a recent piece by World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, we need to develop scorecards to track our performance on achieving long-term priorities relating to the Paris Accord and the SDG and rethink GDP as a key performance indicator (KPI) in economic policy-making.

We can still do much more to protect and restore forests in order to combat climate change. Too many policy-makers still harbour the misconception that economic development and climate action are incompatible. Outside of violent conflict, broader competition has emerged over geo-economics. This is not a Cold War or trade tension...

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