Environmentalists urge African governments to increase climate action, reduce reliance on fossil fuels

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As the continent marks Africa Day, environmentalists are urging governments to step up their climate action by phasing out their overreliance on fossil fuels, reducing carbon emissions, moving towards renewable energy and building climate-resilient economies in line with the core aims of the Paris Agreement.

With the urgent need for the world to reduce global temperatures to net Zero by 2050, developing countries like Africa are at a disadvantage.

The move away from fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil comes at a high price, one most simply can’t afford.

But the Impact of climate change on the continent has been debilitating, with disadvantaged communities often left out in the lurch.

Climate change activist, Glen Tyler-Davies says, “We have seen the ongoing drought in the Eastern Cape and the very rain in KwaZulu-Natal has caused untold misery and catastrophic loss of life and impact on communities and infrastructure. These impacts are made worse by climate change and fissile fuels.”

In East Africa, where the battle for gas ownership rages, multinationals and banks have been put on notice.

Climate change activist, in Africa, Landry Ninteretse says, “We are sending a message to our leaders and other social institutions responsible for this crisis that the time has come to stop that kind of reckless investment. We need to prioritise solutions for the people.”

East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop), Omar Elmawi says, “We are seeing a lot of fossil fuel companies looking at Africa as the next frontier to be able to do their projects. That is why we are seeing a big number of them coming to Africa and try benefit from the land such as the Eacop and other places.

Activists have accused governments of failing to act, due to their heavy dependence on foreign and private institutions.

“One of the main targets is Total Energies. The French-owned giant and the other one is the African Development Bank for the first set of actions. We have a concert that will take place in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The message is clear that we are telling the French giant to stop building its crude pipeline in the heart of Africa.”

Their fight as activists is to compel their governments to move swiftly towards renewable energy. This could mean the difference between the continued pollution of the land from fossil fuel use or the move towards rehabilitating the damage that has already been done.

“How they are going to be affecting Africa and Africans and how Africans can come in and make sure their voices are heard, and that these companies are held accountable at the end they are making all the profit. But the impact is going to bore us as Africans,” adds Elmawi.

The UN Climate Committee has stated that for Africa to meet its carbon emissions targets, it will depend on multilateral support from developed countries such as providing finance, and the transfer of technology and capacity-building.

The video below is reporting on climate change: