By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The upcoming Africa Climate is built on false solution rather than a pro-people’s climate agenda, was the crux of discussions at a webinar held today and organised by Friends of the Earth Nigeria.
The Webinar themed ‘How Just is the Transition in Africa? ‘which hosted speakers from South Africa, DRC Congo, Zimbabwe and Nigeria argued that the upcoming agenda at the African Climate offered false solutions to the many climate issues caused by mining in Africa and which have remained an albatross pushed by the greed of filthy lucre by both African governments and their former colonial masters.
In her remarks, Energy Program Coordinator/Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice, Tyler Booth listed some of the false solutions including the calls for cobalt markets, driving regrowth for global energy needs, pioneering the future of nature through the commodification of nature and the drive for blue economies as well as the not so specific push for liveable cities
She argued that Africa doesn’t need carbon markets but rather needs real climate finance. She added that carbon markets are dangerous distractions and do not offer a financial solution that will reach grassroots communities already feeling the impacts.
She again alleged that the anticipated Blue economy is the commodification of nature while the promotion of Liveable cities is focused on African cities to the detriment of Africa’s rural areas
‘…..Data from the World Bank estimates 58% of the total population lives in Rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa; In Africa, over 400 million people live in rural areas ” she quoted. Adding that transforming Africa’s food systems – needs to ensure it is towards food sovereignty and agroecology”
Meanwhile, Ubrei-Joe Maimoni who doubles as the Coordinator Climate Justice/ Energy Program Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Africa and Program Manager for Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) stated that “The state of climate justice in Africa was a sad one as 67 years of oil extraction in the Niger Delta of Nigeria still had people living in polluted environments and complete darkness”
He said “Friends of the Earth Africa believes that a Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa built on environmental, social, gender and economic justice is urgently needed to address all the impacts of the multiple interrelated crises across the continent, which are being compounded by the neo-liberal doctrine”
While calling on the global North not to Let Africa Burn, Ubrei-Joe stated that it is obvious that Africa has witnessed the worst cases of climate disasters – such as Cyclone, Flooding, Drought and Desertification among others.
He noted that while the crisis created by the climate and COVID-19 still lingers, we have seen how the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is mounting pressure on the African continent to help bridge the gap of the energy cut from Russia to other parts of Africa.
“Because of the war, we have seen Nigeria’s Former Vice-President Osinbajo Demanding the Use of Gas to Transition out of Dirty Fuels. Because of the war, Uganda, Other African Nations are Pushing to embrace Fossil-Fuel Projects”
The activist maintained that it was essential that Africa move away from harmful fossil fuels towards a transformed energy system that is clean, renewable, democratic and actually serves its people.
He further made a case for African governments to recognise socially owned and controlled renewable energy as a right and ensure that it is prioritised in policy agenda and fiscal budgets and warned that energy should not be developed solely for profit but to ensure dignity. He also called on African governments to work with all people and remove all obstacles that may retard progress and/or detract from attaining this goal.
In her presentation, titled “How Just is the Transition in Africa?” and supporter of the Don’t Gas Africa, and Africa Movement of Movements, Lorraine Chiponda from Zimbabwe, stated that Africa with over a billion people and 55 countries is home to diverse economies, resources, ecosystems and cultures.
Chiponda noted that decades after independence, African countries continue to face famine, energy poverty, regional conflict, patriarchal oppression, economic insecurity, & debt crises that are increasingly compounded by climate change, multi-layered, systemic and structural as well as financial and trade systems development, climate and energy justice.
She was optimistic that what an African transition can look like is to have decolonized systems, Decentralised systems,
Champion people’s alternative circular economies and ensure food and water sovereignty, monetary and energy sovereignty as well as breaking free from development traps and false solutions
Other speakers who spoke at the Webinar lamented the dire effect of mining on Africa which included human rights abuses, land grabbing, environmental degradation, gender oppression as well as the inherent health challenges which continue on a daily basis.