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African climate advocates up in arms against oil and gas extractions

FILE PHOTO: Oil refinery production pollution.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has convened an urgent summit of World leaders to ignite global actions against unfolding waves of climate change emergencies.

The Summit due to take place in the New York on Monday is expected to be attended by world leaders and scientists from developing and developed nations, some of which are most responsible for Climate Change causing greenhouse gas emissions.

The African group of negotiators say they are going into the summit to speak straight to the world to urgently end further extraction and development of oil and gas reserves and shift to the use of green energy.

Mohammed Adow, the Director of Power Shift Africa, a Climate Change think Tank says the World should take bold actions against Climate Change after decades of in actions in the aftermath of annual negotiations.

Adow says they are interested in securing international ban on development of new fossil fuel reserves beginning with coal infrastructures after 2020 as already suggested by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

He says the objective is to achieve 45 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 Degrees above pre-industrial era, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement taking effect beginning next year.

On Friday, the biggest Global Climate March is expected to take place at the United Nations Headquarters to push the UN to deliver actions and not words of promises at the summit.

The summit is expected to discuss the pathway for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, literally meaning shutting down exploitation of all the Oil and gas reserves as well as coal – collectively known as fossil fuels.

Speaking from New York, Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary-General of the Kenyan based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance says the World has spent two decades in discussions and making declarations which have not been implemented.

Mwenda says the message of the Secretary-General is clear to the global leaders going to the summit to present only three climate actions they intend to implement to address climate change crisis.

“The other thing which is very important is the roles of the non-state actors – civil society organizations, indigenous people and the private sector in implementation of climate actions for complementing the roles of government” he stated adding that it is a complete departure from the past.

James Murembedzi, the Coordinator of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says Africa which is responsible for 3.8 percent of global emissions is spending 9 percent of its gross domestic product on adaptation of Climate change for being the most impacted by Climate Change.

The 2018 report by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming, the world must cut down global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by the year 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050 to prevent catastrophic warming.

It is on this basis that countries which are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) committed to implement various Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the principle of Common but differentiated Contributions towards reducing adverse impacts of Climate Change in Paris, France last year.

Uganda committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and deforestation by 22 percent by 2030. The ambition is pegged on 70 percent international support and the balance being internal government support.

Murembedzi says the New York summit should critically deliberate on the opportunity cost of foregoing the development of fossil fuel reserves – goal, oil and Gas being discovered on the African Continent for countries like Uganda and Kenya to sustain their development trajectories in line with the UN Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Mohammed Adow says the summit should usher in the necessary technology for transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources for humanity to have a safe planet.

One of the proposals the Climate Change advocates have in mind is to slap heavy taxes on Oil and Gas companies as well as Coal-burning countries to pay for the cost of green development and mitigate Climate Change problems. The tax will be collected by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).



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