Emirates pledge $450 million in carbon debt deal at 'toxic' African Climate Summit

Emirates pledge $450 million in carbon debt deal at ‘toxic’ African Climate Summit

Emirati investors have pledged to buy $450m of carbon credits from the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), an institution that aims to boost production of carbon credits in Africa, at the Africa Climate Summit.

The three-day summit has been dubbed a “toxic environment” by environmental campaigners.

It was held this week in Nairobi, Kenya, ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, COP 28, which is expected to be held in Dubai in November.

The non-binding letter of intent was signed by the UAE Carbon Alliance, an association of private businesses launched last year with the aim of “recognizing the importance of carbon credits to achieve net zero goals”.

The UAE is fast becoming a leading investor in Africa’s carbon market, a trading system in which carbon credits (known as offsets) are bought and sold to offset emissions.

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Sultan Al Jaber, who will chair the upcoming UN climate conference, is the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the chief advisor of carbon trading.

While acknowledging the market’s “confidence crisis”, a slowdown in response to growing evidence that many carbon credits “have no intrinsic value”, Jaber said the flaw in the system is the lack of an “agreed standard”.

‘Poisonous place’

According to South African campaigners who attended the Africa Climate Summit, the campaign for trade-based financing tools is influenced by foreign interests and is influenced by the voices of non-state actors.

Before we came, we already knew that this would be a toxic place because of the agenda pushed by the African government and the leaders of the northern world,” the coordinator of the Friends of the Earth Africa Climate Justice and Energy program Maimoni Mariere Ubrei-Joe told Mbindi. The Eye of the East.

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In an open letter to President William Ruto, chairman of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), 500 NGOs criticized the “pro-West” agenda of the conference, which was drawn up by private consulting firms such as the headquarters of US McKinsey. , which has put African interests on the “back burner”.

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) claim that conference organizers “deliberately” failed to ensure that non-state actors participated in the planning and implementation of the conference.

Apart from this, youth activists staged protests throughout the conference.

“As African youth, we want African solutions, because we are them [most] they are affected by the crisis,” Tard Foundation and Rise Up Movement activist Eriga Reagan Elijah told MEE.

‘Pollution permit’

ACMI, which was launched last year at COP 27, aims to generate 300 million voluntary carbon credits per year by 2030 and 1.5 billion credits per year by 2050.

African campaign groups have criticized the move as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, effectively acting as a “licence to pollute” for large exporters.

The Powershift Africa report found that the ACMI target would allow large private companies to emit an additional 1.5-2.5 gigatonnes of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) by the year 2050.

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In addition, the production of carbon credits has the risk of abuse of human rights, caused by the “expropriation of land” in order to implement projects.

In Uganda, the UK-based New Forests Company evicted 10,000 people from Mubende district for a reforestation project.

Earlier this year, the Emirati carbon trading company Blue Carbon signed a series of agreements with Tanzania, Liberia and Zambia, giving them full control over 24.5 million hectares of land and violating the traditional land rights of local communities.

This week’s summit culminated in the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration, which calls for “a new financing architecture that responds to Africa’s needs, including debt restructuring and aid”.

Dangerous clauses

However, civil society actors criticized the declaration as falling short of what was needed for a just transition in Africa.

In a statement in response to the announcement, Friends of the Earth Africa highlighted the inclusion of “dangerous clauses” in the document, including the principle that coal should be “removed” rather than “out” and there is no mention of oil reduction. and gas production.

Another clause refers to the need to “implement a mix of measures that increase Africa’s share of carbon markets”.

In addition, while the statement calls for an annual climate change payment of 100bn from developed countries, it does not detail how this money will be used.

“We expected African governments… to plan how to deal with the crisis [weather] Events, but as you can see from the announcement, it was not like that” FoE Africa spokesperson Babawale Obayanju told MEE.

“So when the money and the technology goes into the Loss and Damage Fund … how are they going to trickle down to those who have an impact?”

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