About three decades ago , the world converged in Rio in Brazil, marking a significant footprint of the international community’s concern about Climate Change and related induced risk on humankind growth and development .Since then, Climate Change which manifest in global warming have gained prominence in international development discussion landscape, leading to the creation of a dedicated convention under the auspices of the United Nations-The United Nations Convention on Climate Change.(UNFCCC).
The Convention is focused to mobilize and coordinate the efforts of Member States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions., since its establishment, the UNFCCC has facilitated a number of global gatherings in search of action steps towards averting climate change and impacts.
However, conclusions from these global forums have often times hit a snag, arising from contestation by ordinary citizens. NOT only have these conclusions been described as inadequate but sometimes as warped and false in providing real solutions for addressing the fundamental raison d’être behind climate change.
The global forums have been characterised by state led representation, sometimes in league with the private sector. The conduct and mode operandi of the global gatherings create an atmosphere for exclusion, narrowing the space for citizen’s participation. The systemic evolution of this process imposes a certain kind of structural violence, diluting ordinary peoples view and concerns.
Increasing the frontiers of inclusiveness for Non State Actors was recognised under the climate convention in Paris drafted in 2015 and signed in 2016- The Paris Agreement.
Subsequently the provided for a deliberative platform for Non-state Actors in Africa symbolised by Climate Chance .
Climate Chance represents a platform for Non State Actors other than the Contracting Parties to the three Rio Conventions.
These are the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCC).The United Nations Convention on Climate and Desertification( UNCCD) and the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) which replaced the Millennium Development goals . The first climate chance Summit in Sub- Sahara Africa took place in Abidjan in 2018 ,following a similar event in 2017 in Agadir ,Morocco .
What scientists saw?
of these global actions, Climate science records in 2015 and 2016 suggest a rather worrying trend in
global warming in a related manner
a Special Report on 30 September on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a
Changing Climate’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
,adopted by member states on in September,
2019 in Monaco, indicate dire warnings of warming of the oceans and the widespread
shrinking of the cryosphere .
It defines ‘cryosphere’ as ‘the components of the Earth System at and below the land and ocean surface that are frozen, including snow cover, glaciers, ice sheets, ice shelves, icebergs, sea ice, lake ice, river ice, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground. The report further indicate that ocean warming continue unabated since 1970, recording increased rate in heat waves from 1982 through 1993
This called into action increased dynamism in efforts and the boldness to adopt a true and responsive measures to abate climate change and impact. This dynamism must focus on addressing the fundamental driving force behind climate change phenomenon. Climate Science sufficiently informs that there is correlation between fossil energy based development orientation and the changing climate .
This briefing paper is a review of the outcomes of two Climate Chance Summits in Africa. These are the 2017 Non State Actors declaration in Agadir, Morocco and subsequently, the Abidjan declaration in 2018.
The Agadir and Abidjan Declarations
The two declarations sought to profer appropriate options for addressing the global climate menace ,while focusing on peculiar concerns in Africa. Largely, the options offered by the two declarations are mutually reinforcing. Essentially, took cognisance of the synergy between Financing and Adaptation and deployment of a pro adaptation local policies and actions.
The Agadir proposal which called for access to adequate climate financing arrangement found favor with the Abidjan declarations, and thus reinforces the aspiration of the ‘’One Planet Summit’’ The one planet summit which took place in Paris was a driven by ordinary citizen’s networks and coalitions globally.
The two declarations focused attention on energy. While the Agadir declaration was upbeat about ‘’ a Just Energy transition as prerequisite to propel positive economic and social transformation, the Abidjan declaration was about energy access . Both declarations took into account the value of decentralization, participations and cooperation , a feature that received further clarity under the Agadir summit, which noted the benefits of dialogue systems that is supportive of transparency frameworks with particular emphasis on global south.
Both declarations acknowledge the vertical and horizontal linkages of the different economic sectors, and further lend credence to the value of corporation between state and non-state actors. In this view , Morocco went a step further , called for working closely with the scientific community in experiments intended for climate resilience and also to support the future works of the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC).
The Abidjan summit touched on the gender, bringing into fore the need for special attention on women and targeted trainings for the youth in addressing climate change and impacts,and further emphasised the need for Africa to strategically align climate funds expenditure with gender based adaptation needs .
The importance of data and information capable of measuring greenhouse gas emissions and evolution in African received attention. In this vain, data has been projected as essential component for evaluating the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of African countries as mandated by the to the Paris Agreement and also noted in Morocco.
Observation and Recommendation
Undoubtedly, Mitigation and Adaption to Climate change remain imperative, and effectively emboldened in the two declarations. However, overemphasis on adaptation and mitigation can set a dangerous trap as it stands to divert attention from addressing the root causal factor and driver of climate change.
Given the reality that fossil energy consumption has been the cornerstone of our current development state characterised by high climate change induced cost and implications for human security, validate the concept of a Just Energy Transition. Setting a binding and realisable target for this energy transition is more relevant than ever. Generally the notion should infect our current development discussion spaces and particularly in climate Chance forums. The 2019 Climate Chance Summit in Ghana, Accra provides a useful avenue for deepening this proposal.
The Agadir Declaration indicated a just Energy Transition as a propeller for future development and progress. However, this indication has not been clearly elaborated in the Abidjan declaration thus raising issues over consistency and focusing of the summits.
Working closely with other actors as noted by the two declarations remains appropriate, specifically with the scientific community in carrying out experiments designed to support climate resilience.
This call has become more relevant in the face of a creeping momentum for technologies with questionable capacities to mitigate the effects of climate change .Thee include agriculture technologies such as Genetic Modified Crops and implications for biodiversity and climate change, Synthetic Biology . While the former refers to transporting genetics organs among unrelated organisms, i.e. from plant to animal the latter ordinarily refers to deliberate redesign of existing biological life forms in laboratories. This essentially attempt to bring about predictive engineering to the field of biological science. It should be noted that, living organisms are dependent on context and environment influences for their functioning and service provisioning. Fundamentally, unlike machine which can function in alien environment these technologies however are often advertised as ‘’ climate smart’’ agriculture technologies even as they have warped incentives for such claims ,ultimately incapable of addressing the climate change and impacts confront ally.
Climate Chance must endorse the civil society led proposal for a dedicated Technology Assessment Platform that will interrogate technologies on sale and suitability for Africa.
In October 2019 Oilwatch Africa in collaboration with ETC group called for such a platform with the view to appreciating technologies that aligns with Africa’s development needs .
An alarming feature of the current fossil energy investment expansion provides incentive for private sector companies to take on greater risks in support of energy extraction, for instance Synthetic biology have become an obvious choicefor extracting stranded Oil deposits in wells. This is achieved by introducing certain engineered microorganisms whose job is to facilitate extraction. While this technology stands to increase the fortunes of the private sector, it has dangerous implications for the climate with untold hardships for ordinary peoples and communities globally.
The Above is Oilwatch Africa’s Position facilitated by its country member group, Oilwatch -Ghana. The piece is meant to contribute to shaping the focus of the Climate Chance Summit currently ongoing in Accra. The summit begun on the 16 and ends on 18 October. 2019.
This publication is made to coincide with the climate chance summit, offering insight into what the organizers should consider for next steps.