The African continent emits just some 3 percent of world CO2 emissions, yet is amongst essentially the most exposed to climate change.
The leaders of two dozen African countries have urged wealthier nations to uphold their aid pledges so the continent can tackle climate change effects for which it shares little blame.
African ministers made their call in a communique on the close of a three-day forum within the Egyptian capital Cairo on Friday and two months before Egypt hosts the crucial COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh in November.
We urge “developed countries to fulfil their pledges in relation to climate and development finance, and deliver on their commitments to double adaptation finance, particularly to Africa,” the 24 leaders said in a closing statement.
The African continent emits just some three percent of world CO2 emissions, former UN chief Ban Ki-moon noted this week.
And yet African nations are amongst those most exposed to the results of climate change, notably worsening droughts and floods.
The African leaders said the financial aid was needed in view of “the disproportionate impact of climate change and nature loss on the African continent”.
Africa not only has a “low carbon footprint”, they said, but it surely also plays a key role in capturing greenhouse gases, including within the Congo Basin, which is home to the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon.
‘Abrupt disinvestments from fossil fuels’
The communique urged wealthy countries to satisfy and expand climate pledges, and said poor countries should give you the option to develop economically while receiving more funds to adapt to the results of climate change.
The document stressed “the necessity to avoid approaches that encourage abrupt disinvestments from fossil fuels, as this may … threaten Africa’s development”.
The role of gas within the transition to cleaner energy is ready to be a key point of contention at COP27. Climate activists say it must be quickly phased out and replaced with renewables.
But, Nigerian finance minister Zainab Ahmed told the Cairo forum that gas was a matter of survival for her country.
“If we usually are not getting cheap finance to develop gas, we’re denying the residents in our countries the opportunities to realize basic development,” she said.
The communique also called for specializing in climate change in a review of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions. It suggested the creation of a sustainable sovereign debt hub that would reduce the fee of capital for developing states and support debt-for-nature swaps.
Funding to assist poorer countries curb their emissions and strengthen their resilience shall be a key issue at COP27.
A longstanding goal for developed countries to spend $100bn a yr from 2020 on helping vulnerable nations adapt to climate change stays unmet.
In line with the African Development Bank, the continent will need as much as $1.6 trillion between 2020 and 2030 for its own efforts to limit climate change and to adapt to the opposed effects which are already apparent.
Kevin Chika Urama, chief economist on the African Development Bank, said Africa faced a climate financing gap of about $108bn annually.
“Climate finance structure today is definitely biased against climate-vulnerable countries. The more vulnerable you might be the less climate finance you receive,” he said.