Climate activists in Africa slammed a new African carbon markets initiative on Tuesday, saying it was just another pollution “stimulus” that would jeopardize efforts to reduce carbon emissions at source.
The statement from Friends of the Earth Africa, an organization focused on supporting environmental and human rights struggles in the African region, came after Kenyan President William Ruto inaugurated the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi.
“We must reject any initiative that does not focus on achieving 100% renewable energy on the African continent,” said the organization’s Climate and Energy Program Coordinator.
They noted that the climate crisis could not be solved by moving air from one part of the world to another, which is what this initiative would essentially do, making Africa a virtual dumping site “while our leaders profit from another bogus solution”.
“Carbon markets are built on several outrageous myths. They assume that permanent fossil fuel emissions can offset fragile natural biological carbon cycles,” said Omar El Maawi, executive director of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI).
“It doesn’t make sense, because these two processes have different life cycles. Nature-based solutions like afforestation are not permanent. The carbon stored in trees is released when trees burn or land degrades. Why should we invest in projects that leave more questions than answers?” he added.
Maoist emphasized that Africa should focus on obtaining funding for humanitarian aid, renewable energy and security.
African civil society claimed on Monday that the Rockefeller Foundation and others were “deeply intent” on advancing the carbon markets agenda.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were pledged on Monday, including $450 million from the UAE Carbon Coalition, to boost carbon stock production in Africa 19-fold by 2030. Others pledging money for carbon projects include Britain ($62 million), Germany ( $65 million) and climate asset management ($200 million).
She said the African Carbon Markets Initiative is the latest carbon credit scheme that politicians, companies and some philanthropists are pushing for, claiming it will solve Africa’s climate problem.
However, Power Shift Africa Director Mohamed Addo said, “Africa has great potential to lead the response to the climate crisis caused by rich countries. We have an abundance of clean and renewable resources, some visionary leaders, and a young population that will benefit from climate-friendly development. The carbon market initiative is a solution to someone else’s problem, and it has been rewritten – once again – to deceive us. There are real solutions and we have to accept them.”
In a report, Power Shift Africa warned that pollution would become intolerable if the African Carbon Markets Initiative achieves its goals. Private companies will be free to release up to 2.5 billion tons of extra carbon per year by 2050 in exchange for the pollution permits they buy.
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