The world can’t tackle climate change unless it first deals with the prevailing problems of “white supremacy” and “colonialism,” according to a COP28 panel of climate activists from Canada and abroad in Dubai. 

On Tuesday, Indigenous Climate Action executive director Erial Deranger of Alberta blasted oil sands development and claimed that “patriarchy” and “white supremacy” stood in the way of solving climate change. 

“We cannot continue this extractive economy. Our call to action for gender justice, racial justice, upholding Indigenous rights, and the rights of nature. Calling for a just transition and immediately phasing out fossil fuels is an ongoing agenda for people on the planet,” said Deranger.

“False solutions, white supremacy colonization and patriarchy have no place in any climate action plan. Rather, government and financial institutions must adopt just transition and feminist policies and frameworks.” 

Deranger’s comments continued in the broader context of “intersectionality,” a concept originating in the academic context of critical race studies which has become in vogue with activists today. 

“Colonization has brought with this the imposition of patriarchy which has turned and twister and perverted our culture into a colonial structure where we are told we need to adopt these systems and we have been forced into these patriarchal systems,” claimed Deranger. 

Ponca Nation of Oklahoma councillor Casey Camp-Horinek told the audience that there was an ongoing “climate genocide” being perpetrated by the oil industry. 

“I could tell you that 100% of this is a product of colonization. It is a product of the fossil fuel companies in our territory that are virtually killing it. It is genocide what’s going on here,” said Camp-Horinek.

“The murder of the four legs, the wings and the murder of those that fins guide, the murder of water herself and the murder of the sacred air and the murder of the ways of the natural worlds. They have to carry that burden. What do we get to do? We get to be the sheroes and heroes.” 

Earlier this week, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced at COP28 stricter rules on methane emissions, a move recently opposed by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith on constitutional grounds.