African CSO leaders Counter Rwandan Minister on Carbon Markets, Attack on Greta Thunberg


African civil society leaders have said that what will fix carbon emission is for the African delegation attending COP26 in Glasgow to be courageous enough to advance real solutions like keeping fossil fuels in the ground, liability for polluting industries and Global North commitments to pay for global climate harms.

Leading activists, Nnimmo Bassey of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Ndivile Mokohena of GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice South Africa, and Akinbode Oluwafemi of the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), made the recommendations in reaction to Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya’s attacks on Greta Thunberg and green groups’ critiques of trading carbon published in the Politico last week.

Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment had come after Greta who was set to address a march to mark the “youth and public empowerment day” at COP26 in a tirade which included saying that those who don’t see market schemes as a silver bullet are “only complaining just to complain”.

But the African climate justice activists criticized the Rwandan minister remarks, insisting that she does not speak for Africa and urged her and delegates from the region to read the African Civil Society Position Statement and its ‘’Big CON’’, report to disabuse themselves of market-based mythology.

“The facts cannot be ignored. Africans contend with the biggest burdens of the climate crisis and know that these carbon credits are only a distraction from real emissions cuts, which if we fail to achieve, will be deadly for us—especially frontline communities, where life expectancy drops by the hour.”

They argued that: “Embracing carbon markets is a license for continued pollution, and assumes that suddenly, markets will cease to be what they have long been: a vehicle for green washing and neocolonialism”

In response to the minister’s demand for a solution aside markets, they pointed out that: “We have many solutions grounded in what it will require keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need our continental representatives to be advocating, for instance, that the wealthiest countries, which have historically been the largest emitters, provide funding for our national adaptation and mitigation plans. Our climate reality is, after all, a circumstance of their creation.” 

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