African nations condemn 'climate injustice' as Cop27 climate summit draws near

Officials from more than 60 African nations attend opening of Africa Climate Week in Gabon's capital

Cooling towers at a coal-fired power station. Africa causes less than four per cent of global CO2 emissions but is among the regions most severly affected by global warming, the continent's leaders have said. Bloomberg
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African countries have called for an end to "climate injustice" saying the continent causes less than four per cent of global CO2 emissions but is among the regions most severely affected by global warming.

Government officials, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector from more than 60 African nations attended Monday's opening of Africa Climate Week in Gabon's capital Libreville, to prepare for the Cop27 UN climate conference in Egypt in November.

Host President Ali Bongo Ondimba told the gathering that the continent had to speak with one voice and offer "concrete" proposals for Cop27.

"The time has come for Africans to take our destiny into our own hands," he said, deploring the global failure to meet climate targets.

"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 panel IPCC "describes Africa as the most vulnerable continent.

"Droughts are causing extreme famines and displacing millions of people across the continent," Bongo said.

"Today, 22 million people in the Horn of Africa face starvation because of the drought and famine, countries in the south of the continent are regularly hit by cyclones, rising sea levels threaten cities such as Dakar, Lagos, Capetown and Libreville."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, head of Cop27, which will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, said: "Despite contributing less than four per cent of global emissions", Africa is "one of the most devastated by the impact of climate change."

"Also, Africa is obliged, with limited financial means and scant levels of support, to spend about two to three per cent of its GDP per annum to adapt to these impacts," Mr Shoukry said, calling it a "climate injustice".

Denouncing the failure of developed countries to deliver on their climate commitments, he warned: "There is no extra time, no Plan B and there should also be no backsliding or backtracking on commitments and pledges."

Updated: August 30, 2022, 1:20 PM
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