OAKLAND, California, Sep 13 2023 (IPS) – Following the recent African Climate Summit, held in Nairobi from September 4-6, 2023, the world’s attention has been drawn to the urgent challenges facing the continent African face as he grapples with the devastating effects of climate change.
Accounting for less than 4 percent of global emissions, Africa owes a significant climate debt to historic polluters, but has received only 12 percent of global emissions. $300 billion in annual funding it must face climate-related challenges.
The three-day summit resulted in the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration, which expresses the common position of African countries as they prepare for the upcoming COP28 on climate change. Reflecting the deep historical injustices that have left the continent disproportionately vulnerable to worsening climate shocks, the declaration calls for “a new financing architecture tailored to Africa’s needs”, including debt restructuring and relief, as well as a “carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, shipping and aviation, which could also be increased by a global tax on financial transactions.
However, these calls for justice ring hollow when examining the investments and initiatives actually prioritized at the Summit, revealing a striking paradox. At the meeting, the agenda primarily revolved around the expansion of carbon markets – a dangerous and false climate solution that opens the continent to the global economy. green colonialism and reinforces the status quo of North/South power imbalances.
Hundreds of millions of dollars engaged in this extractive and speculative system, turning a blind eye to the fact that carbon offsets have spectacularly failed to reduce emissions and have a troubling history of triggering evictions, decimating livelihoods and exacerbating environmental damage in Africa, as noted in a recent report from the Oakland Institute.
In one of the most anticipated deals of the event, investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) committed to buy Worth $450 million of carbon credits from the African Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI). Climate Asset Management – a joint venture of HSBC and climate investment firm Pollination – also announced a US$200 million investment in projects producing ACMI credits.
Launched at COP27 by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Sustainable Energy for All, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ACMI places disproportionate control from African carbon markets to rich countries and oil interests, allowing polluters to continue operating. transmit with impunity while Africa provides them with carbon credits. Instead of serving the interests of the African continent, the financial promises made at the Summit threaten to exacerbate existing inequalities and encourage extractivism.
However, heads of state and leaders have celebrated these investments, advancing the erroneous belief that carbon markets represent a viable source of climate finance. Kenyan President William Ruto describe carbon sinks as an “unprecedented economic gold mine”, while the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen launched “real carbon credits” as “a solution that would unlock enormous resources for climate action in Africa”.
Likewise, the US President’s special climate envoy, John Kerry declared that “Africa needs a thriving carbon market as a tool to combat the climate crisis”. Contrary to these claims, carbon markets mainly benefit foreign developers and financial intermediaries – high net worth individuals, businesses and organizations based in the North – with host countries and local communities often only receiving small fraction revenue generated.
While the African Climate Summit was dominated by false solutions, the breakthrough came in the form of an alternative solution. Real African Climate Summitwhich brought together over 500 civil society groups – demonstrating the power and dynamism of the African climate movement.
In response to the failures of the official Summit, civil society groups organized an alternative People’s Assembly and march, which catalyzed conversations and collaboration between grassroots movements, agricultural organizations, indigenous communities, activists and stakeholders. confessional.
The result of this counter-mobilization is the Declaration of the African Peoples on Climate and Development, which offers a vision of African climate action much more ambitious than the Nairobi Declaration. Focused on African solutions, climate justice and a people-centered approach, the People’s Declaration outlines the real solutions that African leaders must demand at the upcoming COP28 and beyond.
These include a redefinition of development away from perpetual growth, people-centered renewable energy, agroecology and food sovereignty, ecosystem protection and restoration, a socially just transition away from fossil fuels and the dismantling of the power of transnational corporations.
The response to the climate emergency cannot be at the expense of those who have contributed the least. Nor can it be fought with the same extractive, neocolonial system that created it in the first place. As we move towards COP28 in Dubai, African nations must reject false climate solutions that cede control of their natural resources to the rich countries of the North.
Instead, African leaders must listen to the calls of civil society and prioritize authentic solutions that pave the way for a just transition and prioritize the well-being of African people.
Eve Devillers is a research associate at the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank that brings fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time. www.oaklandinstitute.org
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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service