By Agbonkhese Oboh
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change (Conference of the Parties), COPs 26, has been described as a mere “carbon trade fair” appropriated by countries and corporations responsible for carbon emissions.
This was against expectations of expediting climate actions based on justice, especially with regards to Africa that contributes a relatively negligible 3% to the carbon emissions.
Rev Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, gave the verdict in Lagos at a post-COPs 26 roundtable by Civil society organisations, CSOs, on Wednesday.
The 26th Conference of the Parties, COP, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, held in Glasgow, Scotland, the UK, from October 31 to November 13, was the first since the Paris Agreement of COP21 that expected parties to make enhanced commitments towards mitigating climate change.
However, according to environmental activist, Rev Bassey, COPs 26 was not the space for negotiations based on climate justice.
“Those who contribute more to climate change should do more to cut it. But that did not play out, making COPs26 an absolute failure,” he said.
On Net Zero, Bassey pointed out that it does not actually mean zero emission, but just a case of “whatever you do, show us how it’s absolved.”
“It’s just business and the world accepts it because it makes life easy for politicians,” Bassey noted.
‘Let the people mobilise’
For Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes at CAPPA, the people should mobilise.
“If the Global North and big corporations won’t listen to the people directly being (negativity) impacted by their carbon emissions, the people should mobilise.
“If COPs won’t listen to us, we should start organising from the grassroots. That was what we did with Counter-COPs.
“This time the people’s voice will count and not be taken over by corporations that are engaged in commodification of the climate.
“It deepens engagement and not leave it for those inflicting the wounds and suggesting the medicine,” says Jakpor.
‘Net Zero is mathematical fraud’
For Ogunlade Olamide, also of CAPPA, “We are on the right part — making all the noise.
“We cannot leave it all to foreign suggestions that don’t consider African realities.”
He noted that the foreign solutions are resulting in confusion in Nigeria.
For example, while the Nationally Determined Contribution, NDC, put the country’s emissions cut at 2050, the Federal Government says 2060, while the hurriedly passed Climate Change Act says 2070.
“Even CSOs representatives in the Climate Change Council will be nominated by the minister and approved by the President,” Olamide said.
“Net Zero,” concluded the moderator, Oluwafemi Akinbode, CAPPA’s Executive Director, “is a mathematical fraud.”
Egypt and COP27
COP27, scheduled to hold in Egypt, holds some poignant significance for humanity, the activists say:
*An opportunity to look back at past civilisations benchmarked by the pyramids
*Assess failed civilisations
*Look ahead to future generations that will call the current one foolish for overseeing the dearth of the current civilisation, because
*Water bodies in Africa are getting warmer that those of other continents, so
*A people’s Congress, not COPs, is what must be convened.