Africa emits less than 4% of polluting gases and asks for mega financing from the richest countries

The African continent produces less than 4% of global emissions of polluting gases. Despite this, the core countries are calling for a greater effort from Africans to use only renewable energy. Africa’s leaders are asking them for $ 700 billion a year in return. (United Nations image)

“When they say cut in Africa, what do they want to cut?” wondered Titus Gwemende, the Zimbabwe-based climate director for the Open Society Foundation. “There is nothing to cut here. African countries are the ones on the receiving end of this problem. It is the largest issuers that should have the responsibility to cut back ”, he adds. “We should be sensitive to history.”

This is one of the many voices that are heard at the environmental summit that takes place in Glasgow, COP26, and that have been repeated for a quarter of a century in this same area. Africa contributes just 4% of the polluting gas emissions that cause climate change. But at all summits, their countries are required to cut emissions further. While several African nations that have an abundance of oil and natural gas, argue that the rest of the world does not have the right to tell them not to use it and less to cut what they do not emit.

Proven crude oil reserves on the African continent amount to more than one hundred billion barrels in eleven countries, with Libya and Nigeria among the 10 largest world producers. The region is also rich in gas: Nigeria, Algeria and Mozambique together hold about 6% of the world’s natural gas reserves.

Now, at this COP26, some African leaders and activists declared, for the first time with such forcefulness, their opposition to a faster turn to renewables for their countries. They are pushing for the transition to slow down, and to maintain dependence on fossil fuels, especially natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal or oil, although it continues to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. that warms the planet. AND They demand a mega-financing agreement that channels 700 billion dollars each year starting in 2025. to help developing countries adapt to the climate crisis.

The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, together with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at the opening of COP26 in Glasgow.  Alberto Pezzali / Pool via REUTERS
The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, together with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at the opening of COP26 in Glasgow. Alberto Pezzali / Pool via REUTERS

Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, told a press conference in Glasgow that increased funding was necessary to the accelerated decarbonization phase that limits global warming to 1.5C. “These funds would also be essential to cope with shocks, such as more intense heat, increased droughts, and more intense storms and floods, which are consuming an increasing share of our countries’ GDP,” he said. According to a study presented at the COP, some African countries already spend more on climate adaptation than on health and education.

“We have to start working on this now,” launched Gahouma-Bekale, the Gabonese climate diplomat. “Financing talks take time, so we have to have a roadmap now with clear milestones on how to reach the goals after 2025 to ensure that the money flows every year”.

It is also a question of justice, say the representatives of the least developed countries. The climate problem was largely created by Europe, the United States, and East Asia, but the worst impacts are in the southern hemisphere. In 2009, rich nations pledged $ 100 billion a year, which was considered an advance and an important gesture of confidence. But they still owe 20 billion.

The money is needed immediately, say African negotiators. According to a recent study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Cameroon dedicates about 9% of its GDP to climate adaptation, Ethiopia 8%, Zimbabwe 9%, while Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ghana exceed 7%. Even with these high percentages of national funding, the study found a gap of about 80% between needs and expenditures.

Gahouma-Bekale, who is also a special adviser to Gabonese President Ali Bongo, said that the opening phase of Cop26 had propelled the world in a more positive direction, but that words had to be backed up by deeds in the second week of deliberations and before the end of the summit this coming Friday. “We have received some assurances during the summit from world leaders that they really want to close the gap and we have seen strong announcements about deforestation and methane,” he said. What we want to see now is the application. Only the implementation of these promises can give us the assurance that we need that we can maintain warming at 1.5C ”.

What is at stake in Glasgow is the development of 1.2 billion Africans, half of whom do not have access to electricity.  They are the ones who suffer some of the worst effects of climate change.  (UN image)
What is at stake in Glasgow is the development of 1.2 billion Africans, half of whom do not have access to electricity. They are the ones who suffer some of the worst effects of climate change. (UN image)

Africa accounts for less than 4% of historical global emissions per capita, compared to 25% from China, 22% from the EU and 13% from the United States. However, it has suffered many of the most devastating effects of climatic disturbances, such as the recent droughts in the Sahel and floods in the Nile delta. It is expected to be one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to heat waves and crop losses.

Despite this, some African countries are at the forefront in slowing down forest clearing and carbon emissions. A good example is Gabon, which already it has a carbon negative economy because its tropical forests in the Congo River basin absorb more greenhouse gases than its factories, cars and cities. An ambitious climate law was recently passed in the parliament of Libreville, the Gabonese capital, which aims to ensure that the country remains dependent on forests and agriculture rather than the fossil fuel industry. But to achieve this goal, needs international help from the richest countries which was already agreed in 2015 in Paris.

Many other African nations depend on coal for electricity and did not join the declaration made this week by more than 40 countries to abandon this fossil fuel, the most polluting, by 2030. “This is very good news for the world,” Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale said in an interview with The Scotsman, the prestigious Scottish daily. “If we want to be successful with the Paris targets, we must eliminate all fossil fuels, and coal is among them. But our situation in Africa is different. We are still developing. We cannot drastically leave coal and oil. For now we have to use it to eradicate poverty and access to energy. We will need support for the transition. And we have to be flexible. For five or ten years, we must do both at the same time, coal and renewables, so that the transition is smooth ”.

A young girl shows her hand with an eye drawn which means "we are looking at them", as a message to COP26 delegates, during a protest in Glasgow.  REUTERS / Yves Herman
A young woman shows her hand with a drawn eye that means “we are looking at you”, as a message to the delegates of COP26, during a protest in Glasgow. REUTERS / Yves Herman

An analyst for The Guardian newspaper in London said that “to insist that African countries make a faster transition to renewable energy it is as if developed nations used a ladder to scale a wall and then climbed it before developing countries could do the same”.

“Efforts to restrict fossil fuel investments in Africa are even more difficult to digest because many of the rich countries that back them – including Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – include natural gas in their own multi-decade plans to the transition to clean energy, ”wrote Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president, in Foreign Affairs magazine. Nigeria relies heavily on gas for electricity, and on crude oil for income. “Climate action should not mean the strangulation of all fossil fuel projects, but rather facilitate the flow of capital to the countries that need it most”Osinbajo wrote.

What is at stake in Glasgow is the development of 1.2 billion Africans, half of whom do not have access to electricity. That in that energy sector and the transition to renewables is, mainly, where the leaders of the 54 countries of the continent want to invest that mega-financing of 700,000 million dollars that they are now asking for in Glasgow.

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Reference-www.infobae.com

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