Report by climate think tank says carbon markets allow rich polluters to keep pumping greenhouse gases
Climate activists in Africa slammed the new Africa Carbon Markets Initiative on Tuesday, saying it is just another “incentivization” of pollution that will jeopardize efforts to reduce carbon emissions at the source.
The statement came from Friends of Earth Africa, an organization that focuses on supporting the environmental and rights-based struggles in the African region, after the African Climate Summit was opened by Kenyan President William Ruto in Nairobi.
“We must reject any initiative that has no focus on attaining 100% renewable energy in the African continent,” said the organization’s climate and justice energy program coordinator.
They noted that the climate crisis cannot be solved by shifting air from one part of the world to another, which this initiative essentially would be doing, making Africa some virtual dumping site “while our leaders cash in on another false solution.”
“Carbon markets are founded on several outrageous myths. They assume that permanent fossil fuel emissions can be equated to fragile, natural biological carbon cycles,” said Omar Elmawi, executive director at Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI).
“This is illogical, as these two processes have different life cycles. Nature-based solutions such as afforestation are not permanent. The carbon stored in trees is released when trees burn or land degrades. Why should we invest in projects that leave more questions than answers?” he added.
Elmawi stressed that Africa should focus on acquiring funding for humanitarian aid, renewable energy and security.
The African Civil Society alleged Monday that the Rockefeller Foundation and others were “hell-bent” on pushing the carbon markets agenda.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars were pledged on Monday, including $450 million by the UAE Carbon Alliance, to boost Africa’s carbon credit production 19-fold by 2030. Others who committed money for carbon projects are Britain ($62 million), Germany ($65 million) and Climate Asset Management ($200 million),” it said.
It argued that the African Carbon Markets Initiative is the latest carbon credit scheme that politicians, businesses and some philanthropists are pushing for, claiming it will resolve Africa’s climate problem.
However, the director of Power Shift Africa, Mohamed Adow, said: “Africa has so much potential to lead the response to the climate crisis caused by rich nations. We have abundant clean, renewable resources, some visionary leaders, and a youthful population who will benefit from climate-friendly development. The carbon market initiative is a solution to someone else’s problem, repackaged — once again — to fool us. There are real solutions, and we need to embrace them.”
Power Shift Africa warned in a report that pollution will become intolerable if the African Carbon Markets Initiative achieves its goals. Private companies would be free to emit up to 2.5 billion tons of additional carbon annually by 2050 in exchange for their purchased pollution permits.