“Climate Crisis at the Crossroads: No-shows and Walkouts as War Threatens Talks

Weather talks in Madrid took a surprising turn on Sunday when Palestinian diplomats staged a no-show and walked out of a UN Global Climate Action (GCA) summit, citing the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas as a reason behind their departure. As the conference was aimed to lay the framework for future climate action, diplomats from the Palestinian Authority were forced to abruptly cut their participation in the event, citing their deep concern over Israel’s war on Gaza. The unexpected walkouts were a stark reminder of the larger geopolitical tensions in the region. Spain had reportedly invited the Palestinian and Israeli delegates to attend the conference – and the Palestinian delegates had accepted the invitation – but they withdrew their participation just hours before they were scheduled to deliver speeches. The Palestinian delegates had planned to deliver compelling arguments on the need for climate action in a region that is among those most affected by the effects of climate change. They specifically wanted to highlight the devastating effects of land grabs, water scarcity, and the destruction of nature due to rampant settlement expansion in the occupied territories. However, such talks will now have to be postponed until the dramatic clashes between Israel and Hamas subside. Meanwhile, the Paris Agreement, signed in late 2015, was meant to ensure future action in curbing global warming. But the current disruption in communication between the international community and the Palestinian delegates has thrown a spanner in the works. Without Palestinian representation, there can be no real action in amending climate-oriented policies. This ongoing war between Israel and Hamas is thus posing a major threat to the collective fight against climate change, stressing yet again the need for an informed and collective effort towards finding a quick and durable solution to the decade-long conflict.