ADDIS ABABA: Africa shouldn’t have to beg for help in addressing climate change, the president of the African Development Bank said Tuesday, adding that polluting global powers “have to pay.”
Akinwumi Adesina said during an interview on the sidelines of the African Union summit that the financing promised to African countries to cope with the consequences of climate change “needs to be put on the table.”
Africa’s more than 1.2 billion people stand to suffer the most from global warming while contributing to it the least. The region is also the least equipped to deal with its effects, according to experts. Parts of Africa are warming at a faster pace than elsewhere, and climate experts have said warming Indian Ocean waters have contributed to more powerful cyclones and the worst locust outbreak in decades in East Africa.
African heads of state are increasingly blunt about the dangers ahead and the need for the rest of the world, including top polluters such as China and the US, to step up and contribute to Africa’s efforts to adapt. “There has to be climate justice,” Adesina said.
The African Development Bank is increasing its own climate financing to 40 percent of its total investments, he said, with such financing having doubled from $12.5 billion to $25 billion. Half of that money is for climate adaptation.
“Africa shouldn’t be in a situation wherein it is begging,” Adesina said. “We are not going to deal with climate change by talking about it.”
Africa has 15 percent of the world’s population, yet is likely to “shoulder nearly 50 percent of the estimated global climate change adaptation costs,” the bank said, noting the continent has seven of the 10 countries considered most vulnerable to climate change: Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
And yet “to date, energy-related CO2 emissions in Africa represented around 2 percent of cumulative global emissions,” the International Energy Agency said last year.
“Major emitting countries and industrial sectors have a particular responsibility” to act, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the AU summit. “If they don’t deliver, all our efforts will be in vain.”