As the temperature rises, we have seen the erosion of democracy and human rights across the globe. Attacks on environmental activists are reaching record numbers. In the same year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, they also voted to curb the regulatory powers of the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions. A new UK Policing bill that curtails protesting rights appears to have its origins in a think tank funded by Exxon Mobil, while Shell recently obtained an injunction from the UK courts that will see protestors blocking the sale of fuel fined or even imprisoned. The UK government has also threatened to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, after an attempt to deport a number of migrants to Rwanda was thwarted by a legal challenge.
While politicians in both the U.S. and the UK may appear to be more preoccupied with “culture war” soundbites about the perceived threat of gender-neutral toilets and the entire country of China, it is clear from their policies on immigration that they are more than aware of, and actively preparing for, the implications of climate change for people around the world, particularly those in the Global South. The UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has been accused of “unlawfully rewriting” what it means to be a refugee in the new Nationality and Borders Act, while the UK Conservative Party leadership candidate, Rishi Sunak, recently proposed a reduction in aid spending for those countries who refuse to take back nationals that fail to meet UK entry requirements. These policies are being crafted and implemented at the same time as significant investment in fossil fuels, and increased spending on military preparedness, both of which come at significant environmental cost.