By Kalinga Seneviratne
SYDNEY (IDN) — Welcome to our 15th issue of Sustainable Development Observer, focusing almost exclusively on COP 27—or what is known as the annual UN climatic change conference.
Three decades after small island states introduced the term “loss and damage” to the United Nations, the world has finally agreed to set up a fund to help vulnerable countries cope with climate risks. But who pays, who receives and how much money should be raised are all open questions to be settled in the next year or so (at COP28?). At this year’s talkfest, rich nations insisted that the payments should not be seen as an admission of liability.
Thirteen years ago, at COP15, Copenhagen, developed nations made a significant pledge. They promised to channel $100 billion annually to less wealthy nations by 2020 to help them adapt to climate change and mitigate further temperature rises. That promise, however, was not kept.
Meanwhile, China is one of the main funders of renewable-energy projects in Africa. At last year’s China-Africa Cooperation forum, Beijing committed to ramping up investments in solar, wind, and other renewables across the continent and has made no overseas coal power investments since 2021. It is also one of several nations funding the International Monetary Fund’s $20 billion IMF Resilience and Sustainability Trust on pandemics and climate change resilience.
In comparison, similar accomplishments by the US are very few. The US government has funnelled more than $9 billion into oil and gas projects in Africa since it signed up to restrain global heating in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a tally of official data shows, committing just $682 million to clean energy developments such as wind and solar over the same period.
Two-thirds of all the money the US has committed globally to fossil fuels in this time has been ploughed into Africa, a continent rich in various minerals but also one in which 600 million people live without electricity.
European leaders also received criticism from African activists who accuse Europe of using Africa as a personal gas station. Germany has been pursuing the Climatedevelopment of a gas field in Senegal to plug its energy crisis while demanding that African governments fast-track renewable energy for their own electricity needs.
At a press conference, Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, an energy and climate think-tank, commented: “Having been thrust to the front lines of a climate crisis we did not cause, Africans have long urged rich countries to wean themselves off fossil fuels and slash their greenhouse-gas emissions. But, instead of heeding our calls, the rich have remained addicted to oil and gas—much of which, in Europe’s case, has come from Russia. Now they are taking this insult a step further: in their drive to end their dependence on Russian energy, the world’s wealthiest economies are turning to Africa”. [IDN-InDepthNews — 24 November 2022]
The PDF copy of Sustainable Development Observer Issue 15 can be downloaded from https://kalingasen.wixsite.com/sdomag/magazine.
Image: IDN-INPS | SDO.
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