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Why COP26 was a failure — Environment activists

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Environment activists at a media roundtable have described the recent climate change conference called COP26 as failure because participants failed to question policies about climate change affecting African countries.

At the roundtable organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), explained that COP26 was a failure because “participants came with different orientation which did not make them have a good negotiation and question policies that were made about climate change affecting African countries.”

On the concept of Net Zero, Bassey said Net Zero does not imply stopping emmissions.

He said, “Net Zero is not zero; it does not mean it will stop carbon emissions.”

Bassey added that the huge presence of delegates from oil and gas and coal numbering 504 implied that COP was not a people’s conference but was that of the fossil fuel industry.

He demanded that “African governments must challenge and reject pledges made by polluting corporations and governments to achieve Net Zero emissions, which are being used to shift additional burdens onto the African region and avoid responsibility for their role in the global share of emissions to-date.”

Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes at CAPPA, noted that “African communities are facing climate crisis and we want the issue of mitigation and adaptation to be at the forefront of discussion.”

“These things did not happen, rather we started hearing about Net-zero which is an industry language to delay action and to push the perils further down the road.

“The Nigerian government that is talking about cutting carbon emission by the year 2060 or 2070 as the case may be is still investing greatly in Fossil fuels in some states.

“We are still looking for oil in the North. The government is talking about bringing nuclear power plants and that same government is talking about cutting emissions. This means we have not been able to deliver on climate.

“Our verdict is that the Nigerian is very conflicting and as civil society people we are trying to put our government on the right path”.

Speaking on the shortcoming of COP26, Jakpor said, “the essence of the gathering is to look at climate change holistically and look at what each country can do to cut carbon emissions which is actually the cause of climate change.”

Executive Director, CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, added that there was the need for “civil society organisation advancing climate justice in the continent to have a regional position in the form of document that will accommodate concerns across board in Africa.”

Olamide Martins, Programme Manager at CAPPA, said that “we are not in support of the government by passing Net Zero because it is against African people”.

He said, “Governments on the continent must ensure that the NDCs of African countries are independent of false solutions and corporations’ influences, but rather accommodate workable and home-grown climate real solutions on mitigation and adaptations.”