During the opening of Africa Climate week in Gabon’s capital of Libreville, where government officials, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector from more than 60 African nations were in attendance, participants called for an end to “climate injustice”, saying their continent causes less than four percent of global CO2 emissions but pays one of the highest prices for global warming.
Host President Ali Bongo Ondimba told the gathering the continent has to speak with one voice and offer “concrete” proposals for the COP27 UN climate conference in Egypt in November.
“Our continent is blessed with all the necessary assets for sustainable prosperity, abundant natural resources… and the world’s youngest and largest working population,” he said.
“But Africa and the rest of the world must address climate change,” when the UN’s intergovernmental climate change panel describes Africa, which is currently facing droughts and famine that is affecting millions, as the most vulnerable continent.
Even with limited financial means and scant levels of support, Africa is obliged to spend about two to three percent of its GDP per annum to adapt to these impacts, COP27 head, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry calls a “climate injustice.”
He denounced the failure of developed countries to deliver on their climate commitments, warning “There is no extra time, no plan B and there should also be no backsliding or backtracking on commitments and pledges.
Filipinos understand such sentiments, being in a country that contributes less than 0.4 percent to the climate crisis yet also among the most vulnerable, bearing the brunt of several storms that become even more powerful with every passing year as the planet continues to heat up, and the rich nations mostly responsible for the climate impacts are still not doing enough.
The countries with similar situations and interests need to band together and exert more pressure on developed countries to hold up their end of the deal and reduce the climate injustice in the planet.*