On 1 December Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made a speech at the plenary session of the 28th conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai. It seems that during his speech the head of state deviated from his notes and added some sharp words to his presentation. As a result the audience gave a standing applause to words of the Belarusian leader (except possibly for the first few speakers, whom Aleksandr Lukashenko will mention later). It was not a regular applause that every speaker customarily gets. The Belarusian head of state received a standing applause. Here is his full speech.
Dear participants of our forum!
First of all, I traditionally want to thank the leadership of the United Arab Emirates for hospitality and for the high level of organization of this conference. A complicated conference, which number of heads of state and heads of government alone is larger than the number that a session of the UN General Assembly gathers.
Today we, leaders of the states of the world, talk about the future of the planet Earth – our common home. We have and will have no other home. We talk about the future of our children and grandchildren. About the future of all of those, who will come into this world after us.
We represent different cultures, different systems of values, different civilizations. But we are united in the face of the global challenge that nature itself has posed before us.
Climate is changing. Scientists make the gloomiest forecasts. It is very progressive that we hear them and respond to them. But in order to effectively counteract the threat, we have to honestly and openly identify its underlying causes.
First of all, it is the absence of the sense of moderation in the drive towards geopolitical supremacy, including military supremacy (I’d say it is primarily military supremacy) on the part of those, who provoke and start wars in various parts of the planet. And wars are the main source of dirt on our continent. It is also the thirst for profiteering, which converts natural resources into personal capital and steals from future generations. It is attempts to remove the countries, which stand in the way of dominating the entire world and destruction by sucking the land dry. And sometimes everything gets done allegedly for the sake of sustainable development (there is such a UN program).
Under the Paris Agreement Belarus fully honors its commitments and even exceeds them. We provide invaluable ecosystem services to our continent by preserving a unique source of oxygen – natural swamps, forests, lungs of Europe. We develop green energy and nuclear energy and minimize climate change risks.
It is paradoxical that in response we get new economic sanctions, international trade barriers, and restrictions on access to technologies. And we’re not the only ones.
It is time to admit that green agenda is meaningless amid confrontation. It demands respect for the sovereignty of countries and unconditional fairness.
It is inadmissible to pressure political opponents with sanctions while simultaneously demanding that they implement solutions that are costly for the national economies. Solutions, on which the purity of the entire atmosphere, all the ground waters, and the world ocean depends. And another point. How can one expect costly and effective climate preservation measures from countries and nations that have yet to recover from colonial oppression?
Bearing it in mind, Belarus encourages everyone, who has to undertake the burden of historical responsibility: first, to make a commensurate contribution to the resolution of climate security issues after centuries of a thoughtless attitude to nature; second, to step up support for developing countries and transition-economy countries; thirdly, to stop expressing “concern” and to start acting for the sake of preserving life on Earth.
It is possible that we have once again gathered here and will once again express our concern, unfortunately. Everyone will forget it in a week. We have no moral right to live only for our own selves. We have to look beyond the horizon. We have to respect nature laws and create the foundation for continuation of the human race here and now. On our planet. We have and will have no other home.
And in conclusion. All the speakers, particularly those, who spoke here first, expressed concern about sources of funding. Come on! Even reporters, who are here, can tell you where you can find money. In order to answer this question, one has to look at recent history. An example. In order to destroy Iraq and Afghanistan and “do good” to these nations, an estimated amount of $1.5-2 trillion has been spent. Iraq and Afghanistan cost about $2 trillion to the aggressor. Can you calculate how much money has been spent on protecting these countries? How many people died? It cannot be calculated in U.S. dollars. A war is going on in Ukraine now. It will cost more than $1.5-2 trillion. It will cost $5 trillion if a peace agreement is achieved soon.
Why is peace absent in this part of the planet today? Because the speakers, who spoke first, talk about peace, talk about a clean planet. They care about grandchildren and yet they have started and are waging the scariest war on the planet.
How much will the slaughter in the Middle East cost? What if a war begins in the Pacific? It will cost trillions upon trillions of U.S. dollars. So let’s spend them on cleaning the planet. Then we would not have to scare up funds for it.
We have gathered here in order to once again express concern. Those, who spoke here first, those, who “care for the grandchildren”, are waging these wars. And wars greatly pollute the planet. Let’s stop it. This is why the most important thing is for us to learn how to speak less and do more.
I understand that if we pass some declaration or a memorandum as we always do, it is unlikely we will accomplish anything. It has been said here by the people, who spoke at the beginning, that 80% of pollution on the planet comes from 20 leading countries. Mister chairman, instead of concern let’s use the declaration to write down our demand for them to at least halve their atmospheric emissions. We will not do it. Why have we gathered then? This is money, readily available money. $10 trillion that we can spend on cleaning our planet by stopping wars.
And let’s act. If we don’t start acting, nature will force us to live according to its own laws.