An NGO, Rights Advocacy and Development Centre (RADEC), which recently joined other civil society groups around the world to mark both the Africa Day of Action and the Global Day of Action on Climate Change, has called for Real Action, and not Net Zero.
The group made the submission in a statement on the Global Day of Action on Climate Change on November 6, 2021, at Okwuzi Community, Egbema Kingdom in Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to the organisation “these actions are to build a unified understanding and shared political action towards real solutions to the climate and ecological and social crises facing Africa”.
Acknowledging that “our 10 hottest years have all been recorded since 2005”, they also warned that “temperature across Africa is projected to be hotter than previously experienced in the recorded past and will rise faster than the global average across most of the continent. With about 80 percent of our people depending on agriculture and local food systems to survive, most of whom are peasants’ women food producers, food insecurity levels are being intensified in the Niger Delta and lives and livelihoods are at severe risk”.
The group added: “We must make a decisive decision on gas flares now. Climate change and its impacts are linked to our colonial past and imperialist development, which were and still are based on a capitalist, extractivist model.
“Indeed, the modern economy has created the climate, ecological, economic and social crises we face today. These intersecting crises continue to be deepened by a colonial, patriarchal and neoliberal model of accumulation – driven by logic of domination, exploitation and destruction of human beings and nature, they lamented.
RADEC says it “watches with dismay as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP), an annual space for intergovernmental negotiations, have been unable to progress towards real solutions to the climate crisis.
“This is because its agenda and actions have been skewed to preserve the profit-driven, vested interests of powerful corporations and their allies in governments. They continue to undermine solutions that address the core causes of climate change. Corporate polluters and the government negotiators at the UNFCCC don’t want to take financial, legal or any responsibility for the damage caused, or to genuinely reduce carbon emissions and pollution.”
RADEC described as “most unfortunate” the statement by the President of Nigeria where he mentioned in his address about Nigeria targeting 2060 as its Net Zero plan.
“The statement is insensitive to the plights of the people of the Niger Delta who have for about 60 years lived with challenges of a devastated environment,” the group stated, calling “on the Nigerian government to put a halt to the propagation of false narratives such as Net Zero Emissions at a time the world requires Real Zero Emissions as the way out of calamitous climate change.”
It adds: “COP26 in Glasgow, UK, should not be an arena for deliberations on false notions such as Nature Based Solutions, Net Zero, Carbon neutrality, carbon offsetting but rather real actions including keeping fossil fuel resources in the ground.
“The use of Nature Based Solutions should not be an excuse for land and sea grabbing and displacement of indigenous communities especially as the divestment of the oil companies are ongoing.”
Government, they opined, need to urgently go back to a binding global emissions reduction rather than the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which, according to the UN computations of submissions, made so far will lead the world to a calamitous temperature increase of up to 2.7oC above pre-industrial levels which will make the Niger Delta go extinct.
The statement, which was issued by Kentebe Ebiarido, the Coordinator of RADEC, also advocated that “there should be no new coal, oil, or gas extraction expansion plans in line with the best available science as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).”
And that was the war cry of the people of Okwuzi community as they took to the streets of the city to march in solidarity of the message with placards with inscriptions like: “Leave the oil in the soil”, “Leave the coal in the hole”, “We want real solutions not false solutions”, “Climate justice now”, etc.
One the protesters, Mr. Solomon Ewuzo, said: “All the mangroves have disappeared, all the places are now turning to deserts and the government is doing nothing.”
By Elder Dandy Mgbenwa