African governments asked to demand climate justice from ‘Big Polluters’

The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and its partners have called on African governments to demand climate justice from “Big Polluters” like Exxon, Shell and others by providing adequate loss and damage finance.

“For decades, Big Polluters like Exxon, Shell, and others have spent billions of dollars denying the climate crisis, delaying action, and pushing false “solutions” at every level while raking huge sums of profits each year,” it said.

The VALD said together with its partners like the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Corporate Accountability International wished to bring to the attention of the government of Ghana, especially officials responsible for climate actions, all African governments to note that there was an agenda of Global North countries and corporations to continue their neo-colonization of Africa and using Africa as a dumping ground.

“They create the mess and use Africa as a mitigating ground mainly telling us to plant trees to absorb the carbon emissions,” it said.

The call was in a statement read by Mr Labram Musah, the Executive Director of Programmes of VALD at a press conference.

It said the current global temperature as of now was around three degrees far above the ideal temperature of 1.5 degrees according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and that this incremental warming would get worse if no action was taken to control the activities of Big Polluters and Global North.

“It is no secret that Africa’s contribution to the current climate crisis is insignificant, yet the continent is the most adversely affected by its consequences. Ghana’s climate has changed. This is evident in the increase in temperature, rise in sea level, and more frequent extreme weather events.

“The durations and intensities of rainfall have increased, producing large runoffs and flooding in many parts of the country. The climate change damage situation is like Nigeria, Kenya among other African countries,” the statement said.

It stated that Africa faces exponential collateral damage, posing systemic risks to its economies, infrastructure investments, water, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods, threatening to undo its modest development gains and slip into higher levels of poverty.

The statement said the Big Polluters hide behind their ‘greenwashing’ net-zero advertisement and continued their polluting activities on daily basis, and that the net-zero was a fraud, which was being used by majority of polluting governments and corporations to evade responsibility, disguise climate inaction and shift burdens especially in developing counties like Ghana.

It stated: “It is important to note that Big Polluting corporations like Shell have knowingly fueled the climate crisis and evaded accountability for human rights abuses like the devastation in the Niger Delta for decades.

“We want to inform polluting corporations and its stakeholders and allies that we cannot afford to fall for the same tricks that they and the rest of the fossil fuel industry have been playing for decades with their deceptive greenwashing schemes, now taking the shape of their meaningless net-zero climate pledges.

“Africa must reject net-zero pledges and commit to achieving Real Zero emission reductions. Africa must embrace and insist on the concept of equity which demands that each country does its fair share in dealing with the climate crisis” the statement said.

“Holding those liable means ensuring that they pay for the loss and damage financially and quit the practices that have driven this crisis in the first place. Governments must also be at the forefront of developing a way forward for formalizing collaboration on non-market approaches to scale-up renewables, agroecology, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and other proven means of preventing and reducing emissions,” it stated.

“We completely agree with Hellen Neima, the Regional Director of Corporate Accountability Climate Campaign when she said, “Africa being the host of the upcoming 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27), must take this opportunity to shape what remains of the climate talk by unanimously demanding what is owed to her- loss and damage finance, a global goal on adaptation, and a workable non-market mechanism for real solutions.”

The statement said the groundwork for these must be laid now in the ongoing 56th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) intersessional in Bonn.

“African governments attending the UNFCCC’s session in Bonn must set a stable foundation for an efficient loss and damage finance facility to be established at COP27 and advance convincing arguments to commit industrialized and wealthy countries to provide adequate loss and damage finance.

It stated that as the globe stands at the tipping point to planetary collapse; it’s time to gather courage in addressing the climate crisis and stop Big Polluters and corporate climate lobbyists from writing the rules, saying, “Bonn presents that opportunity to access the impacts of climate change commitments in Africa; it’s urgent now more than ever to hold Big Polluters responsible and make them pay for the loss and damage they have caused.”

“We call on the government of Ghana to ensure that frontline communities affected by climate change and environmental damages, and actions of the extractive industry and big polluters pay for the crisis they have caused. It is not enough to legitimize the work of extractive industry or halt their operations but to also hold them liable,” the statement said.

Source: GNA

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