Climate activists in Africa have described the new Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) launched at the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 8 as a further distraction from the real solution to climate change.

The ACMI has a 13-member steering committee of African leaders, CEOs, and carbon credit experts, who believe the initiative will support the growth of carbon credits production, create jobs, and protect biodiversity in Africa, according to a press release the group issued.

The initiative also claimed that by 2050 it is targeting over 1.5 billion credits annually in Africa, leveraging over 120 billion U.S. dollars and supporting over 110 million jobs.

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Kenya, Malawi, Gabon, Nigeria, and Togo shared their commitments to collaborating with ACMI to scale up carbon credit production via voluntary carbon market activation plans.

But in a statement today, climate activists from Africa said that the initiative is best described as the “incentivisation” of pollution which will jeopardise efforts to reduce carbon emissions at source.

They noted that this climate crisis cannot be solved by shifting air from one part of the world to another which this initiative essentially will be doing, making Africa some sort of a virtual dumping site “while our leaders cash in on another false solution”.

Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, said: “This initiative is a disincentive to progress in cutting down on emissions.

“Carbon trade is simply business at the expense of the planet.

“Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry backed by Global North governments have found willing partners in African leaders who have shockingly decided to close their ears to the cries of their people carrying the biggest burdens of the climate crisis.”

For Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, “It is disheartening that at a time when the crucial discussion is about voluntarily cutting down on emissions, African leaders are again embracing a false solution that licences and encourages pollution to continue”

Ndivile Mokohena, Gender CC, South Africa said: “As African leaders drift in every wrong direction at the whim of the fossil fuel industry and their enablers, people on the continent continue to suffer.

“Leaving the fossils in the ground is the faultless path that the world continues to ignore. This carbon market initiative is disappointing.”

Kwami Kpondzo, Friends of the Earth Togo said: “It would seem African leaders are determined not to learn from their mistakes of the past.

“For a fictional initiative that keeps Africa locked in the fossil fuels trap to be conceived as at a time that Africa is on the grip of climate crisis is totally inconceivable and unacceptable.”

In addressing the climate crisis, the activists want African leaders to reject the financialisation of nature, demand that the Global North and Big Polluters stop fossil fuels burning, pay for loss and damage and cancel Africa’s debts to enable countries to redirect resources to climate change actions and aspirations.

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