Buhari slams Western leaders over Africa’s climate change

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President Muhammadu Buhari has chastised Western leaders for failing to take responsibility for Africa’s climate disasters.

In an opinion piece written by the president and published in the Washington Post, he stated that the majority of the effects of climate change in Africa are the result of Western developments.

In 2009, the developed countries most responsible for global warming pledged to contribute $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist developing countries in dealing with its consequences.

The commitment has yet to be met, leading to mistrust and reluctance among some developing countries to accelerate their emissions reductions.

The United Kingdom announced at the ongoing COP27 in Egypt that Nigeria will receive a £95 million investment fund to support climate-resilient agriculture (CRA) in the country.

Buhari characterized Western leaders’ failure to meet their commitments to the $100 billion fund as hypocritical, given that the majority of emissions come from their African-based industries.

“Many of my peers are frustrated with Western hypocrisy and its inability to take responsibility,” the president said.

“Governments have repeatedly failed to meet their commitments to the $100 billion fund for climate adaptation and mitigation in the developing world — for the mess their own industries caused.

“According to the United Nations, Africa is the continent worst affected by climate change despite contributing the least to it. Even though the COP27’s agenda notes the need for compensation for loss and damages (as distinct from adaptation and mitigation funding), that demand has mostly been met with silence in the West.”

Buhari accused Western leaders of squandering the continent’s natural resources while excluding its citizens from the benefits.

He condemned the injustice meted out to Africa, claiming that the actions give the impression that Africans do not have a right to energy.

“Don’t tell Africans they can’t use their own resources. If Africa were to use all its known reserves of natural gas — the cleanest transitional fossil fuel — its share of global emissions would rise from a mere 3 percent to 3.5 percent,” Buhari said.

“We are not the problem. Don’t tell the poorest in the world that their marginal energy use will break the carbon budget — only to sign off on new domestic permits for oil and gas exploration. It gives the impression your citizens have more of a right to energy than Africans.

“When you realize you need Africa’s reserves, don’t cut its citizens out of the benefits. In the wake of the Ukraine war, there has been a resurgence of interest in Africa’s gas. But this impulse is coming from Western companies — backed by their governments — who are interested only in extracting these resources and then exporting them to Europe.

“Western development has unleashed climate catastrophe on my continent. Now, the rich countries’ green policies dictate that Africans should remain poor for the greater good. To compound the injustice, Africa’s hydrocarbons will be exploited after all — just not for Africans.

“The Western countries are unable to take politically difficult decisions that hurt domestically. Instead, they move the problem offshore, essentially dictating that the developing world must swallow the pill too bitter for their own voters’ palates. Africa didn’t cause the mess, yet we pay the price. At this year’s COP, that should be the starting point for all negotiations.”

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