Rights Advocacy and Development Center (RADEC) joined other civil society groups around the world to mark both the Africa Day of Action and also the Global day of Action on climate change, both programmed to build a unified understanding and shared political action towards real solutions to the climate and ecological and social crises facing Africa.
As the group noted in a statement issued by its coordinator Kentebe Ebiaridor, the African continent is being hit by heat waves, droughts, wildfires, dried soils, cyclones, storms, locust plagues, flooding, sea level rise and other climate-related disasters of which the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is not left out.
RADEC used the opportunity to sensitize and lecture students of the Government School in Okwuzi, in ONELGA LGA of Rivers state on the impacts of climate change on their environment and livelihoods.
ONELGA LGA has one of the highest deposits of gas reserves not just in Nigeria but in the West African subregion. Communities in that region have for over 50 years on a daily basis been exposed to gas flares which burns in the midst of the communities. It is a well-known fact that one of the greatest contributors to climate change is gas flares.
RADEC further embarked on a rally alongside community people to express their displeasure on the plight of the environment. It also calls on African governments, including the African Group of Negotiators, and those in the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group to go COP26 in Glasgow and negotiate in the interests of the African peoples and the planet, not in the interests of the elites and the polluters.
“Acknowledging that our ten hottest years have all been recorded since 2005, the temperature across Africa is projected to be hotter than previously experienced in the recorded past, and will rise faster than the global average across most of the continent.
“With about 80 percent of our people depending on agriculture and local food systems to survive, most of whom are peasant women food producers, food insecurity levels are being intensified in the Niger Delta and lives and livelihoods are at severe risk.
“We must make a decisive decision on gas flares now! Climate change and its impacts are linked to our colonial past and imperialist development, which were and still are based on a capitalist, extractivist model. Indeed, the modern economy has created the climate, ecological, economic and social crises we face today.
“These intersecting crises continue to be deepened by a colonial, patriarchal and neoliberal model of accumulation – driven by a logic of domination, exploitation and destruction of human beings and nature,” RADEC lamented.
RADEC stated that it watches with dismay as the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Conference of Parties (COPs) an annual space for intergovernmental negotiations, have been unable to progress towards real solutions to the climate crisis and added that this is because its agenda and actions have been skewed to preserve the profit-driven, vested interests of powerful corporations and their allies in governments.
“They continue to undermine solutions that address the core causes of climate change. Corporate polluters and the government negotiators at the UNFCCC don’t want to take financial, legal or any responsibility for the damage caused, or to genuinely reduce carbon emissions and pollution.”
RADEC declared as most unfortunate, the pronouncements by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in his address to COP26 that Nigeria is targeting 2060 in her net Zero plan. The group characterized the statement as insensitive to the plights of the people of the Niger Delta who have for about 60 years lived with challenge of a devastated environment.
RADEC called on the Nigerian government to put a halt to the propagation of false narratives such as Net Zero Emissions at a time the world requires Real Zero Emissions as the way out of calamitous climate change.
“COP26 in Glasgow UK, should not be an arena for deliberations on false notions such as Nature Based Solutions, Net Zero, Carbon neutrality, carbon offsetting but rather real actions including keeping fossil fuel resources in the ground.
“The use of Nature Based Solutions should not be an excuse for land and sea grabbing and displacement of indigenous communities especially as the divestment of the oil companies are ongoing.
Governments need to urgently go back to a binding global emissions reduction rather than the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which according to the UN computations of submissions made so far will lead the world to a calamitous temperature increase of up to 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels which will make the Niger Delta go extinct,” RADEC warned.
RADEC further warned that there should be no new coal, oil, or gas extraction expansion plans in line with the best available science as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Program.