Climate Change (183)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has committed to multistakeholder engagements for the development of Africa’s unified position regarding the continent’s climate change and development aspirations as the continent looks forward to COP-28 later in the year.

Speaking at a Multistakeholder consultation and strategy for COP-28 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, AGN Chair, Ephraim MwepyaShitima said the African group remains committed to engaging with, and providing technical guidance and support to all stakeholders ranging from political leaders, civil society and other development actors to ensure Africa’s success at climate change negotiations.

Mr. Shitima noted the importance of continuous engagements among stakeholders to ensure that Africa remains united and speaking with one voice. 

“As AGN, we take stakeholder engagements and consultations very seriously as they provide us with different views and positions that we have to advance in the negotiations, thereby cementing our legitimacy to speak for the continent,” said Shitima adding that the AGN is “determined to build on the successes we achieved at COP-27 and strengthen areas where we did not do well as we head to COP-28 and will rely on inputs from all stakeholders.”

The AGN Chair also emphasised the group’s desire and strategy to increase the number of women negotiators in support of gender equality and in view of the unanimous agreement that women are on the frontlines of climate change not only in Africa but globally.

“In order to ensure that we grow the AGN and in support of gender equality, we are partnering with UNDP to host a capacity training workshop for young negotiators, focusing mostly on young women. This is important as the strength of any group lies in grooming young people. In view of the importance of gender equality, we have given priority to young female negotiators as it is unanimously agreed that women are on the frontlines fighting climate change impacts. We thus believe that increasing the number of female negotiators adds to our strength as a negotiating block,” said Shitima.

And speaking at the same function, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwendapaid tribute to the AGN for its continued key role in pushing Africa’s agenda in the climate change negotiation process and called on African governments to get actively involved in the technical processes to ensure unity of purpose.

Dr. Mwenda said PACJA wishes to see a unified approach at both the technical and high-level engagements to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of Africa’s interests and aspirations.

“The Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) played a key role in the negotiations at COP27; we therefore encourage everyone to be fully involved in the negotiations so as to have a stronger voice in the negotiation rooms. This meeting is therefore important to put in place a strategy to ensure unity of purpose as Africa heads to COP28,” said Dr. Mwenda.

Earlier, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA’s) Director for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources management, Jean Paul highlighted the increasing costs associated with climate change impacts in Africa and the need for an interlinked approach to addressing them.

He said an analysis by UNCEA has revealed that Africa requires in excess of USD 400 billion for climate adaptation by 2030.

“Our approach is to ensure that climate change is not treated as a single development issue but rather be tackled in a systematic and holistic manner—addressing all interlinked issues as they relate to the continent’s development and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Jean Paul.

To ensure a coordinated approach from all stakeholders, PACJA convened a two-day Continental Strategy workshop from 15th to 16th February, 2023, in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the 36th ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit.

The meeting, which brought together key stakeholders from public, civil and private sector, was aimed at strategizing and shaping a common framework for the continent’s advocacy and participation at COP-28. The AGN Chair was part of the engagement to highlight the group’s priorities for 2023 to ensure unity of purpose for Africa.

ADISS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - The African civil society under the umbrella of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has constituted new Board of Directors that will align the roadmap for climate justice agenda for the next three years.

During  PACJA General Congress in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 2023 Africa Union Summit, members from over 50 African countries came together to set out the blue print for a more engaging climate action in the aftermath of the 27th round of climate negotiations in Egypt. The 2023 general congress was held under the theme, “accountability and stock taking.”

According to the Executive Director of PACJA Dr Mithika Mwenda, Africa is the most impacted by climate change but the least responsible and informed.

“We need to empower our local communities both with the resources and right knowledge to enable them better fight climate change” said Mithika.

Climate change accordingly impacts vulnerable communities in Africa in particular and the world at large such as smallholder producers, indigenous people, women, children, youth, many of whom live in fragile ecosystems and rely on natural resources for their livelihood.

Experts agree that the combined impact of the climate crisis, COVID 19, deepening debt burden, Russia-Ukraine war and skyrocketing food and energy prices, resulting into increased cost of living for millions of people across the globe, especially those at the frontline of climate change impacts, necessitates urgent concerted action both at grass root and international levels.

It is against this backdrop that PACJA and its partners are calling for collective efforts and the needed resources to drive innovative actions of the ground.

Dr Mithika lauded the multiple partners that have stood by the strong civil society movement in the African continent to push the various stakeholders to action in addressing climate change.

“Our actions cannot be successful without the support of these donor institutions and we are calling on all to come on board so that we can better strengthen our engagements” Mithika said.

 It should be recalled that the President of the African Development Bank Group Dr Akinwumi Adesina reiterated on the power of civil society organizations last year in a climate conference in Ivory Coast, harping on their contribution in pushing the Bank’s effort to build the continent’s resilience to climate change.

“We will need civil society organizations, to strongly advocate for and support the 16th replenishment of Fund, as it holds great promise for supporting the most vulnerable in the face of climate change devastation,” the Bank chief said at the climate forum.

One of the actions driven very powerfully in the African continent as pathways to address climate change crisis is the embrace of renewable energy. PACJA says one of its strategic initiatives in the climate change drive is ensuring a people-centered energy transition in Africa through civil society engagement.

 According to Dr Augustine Njamnshi, coordinator of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access, ACSEA renewable energy has to be put at the center of all climate change actions.

“The ACSEA project aims to strengthen civil society’s role in promoting and implementing sustainable energy transition initiatives including renewable NDCs in Africa, influence renewable energy policy development at domestic, national and global levels” Njamnshi said.

PACJA new Board Chair Najwa Bourawi from Tunisia also emphasized on the need for a sustainable energy transition in Africa for the continent to meet its needs for socio-economic development.

“The time is critical. We must act quickly in the renewable energy transition to address the shocks of climate change that are affecting the African people,” Najwa said.

The General Congress also saw the election of members to head the executive council of PACJA and heads of different committees of the board of the organization for the next three years. These committees include the technical and political committee, the finance and administrative committee, the ethics and arbitration committee, the recruitment and credentials committee. Also elected to the continental committee was the Isaiah Esipisu, the Continental Coordinator for PAMACC.


NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - For a period of three months leading to the 27th round of negotiations at the UN Conference of Parties on climate change, fossil fuel-linked entities spent close to $4 million on social media adverts, to promote key messages that belittled the fight against climate change, a new report has revealed.

 According to the report released on Thursday 19, the phrase ‘energy independence’ was most common and found verbatim in 1925 paid adverts on Meta’s Ad Library – a company that owns Facebook,  Instagram , Messenger and  WhatsApp among others, followed by ‘American energy’ (1558 adverts) between September and November when the UN climate summit took place in Egypt.

This came after the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had warned that “vested interests had generated rhetoric and misinformation that undermines climate science and disregards risk and urgency.”

And now, the environment civil society and nongovernmental organisations particularly form Africa and Asia are even more worried because Sultan Al-Jaber, a pro fossil fuel enthusiast, who is the Chief Executive Officer for a globally leading Gas and Oil firm has already been appointed as the President-designate for the 28th round of climate negotiations (COP 28).

“This is the textbook definition of impunity and conflict of interest. Addressing the climate crisis requires deep cuts in the production and use of fossil fuels. That course of action is squarely at variance with Al-Jaber’s business interests,” said Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

“You wouldn’t invite arm dealers to lead peace talks. So why let oil executives lead climate talks? Burning fossil fuels is the single largest cause of the climate crisis, and the single biggest threat to solving it,” said Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness – an international environmental non-governmental organisation.

Authors of the new report titled ‘Deny, Deceive, Delay’, which was spearheaded by the Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) are also faulting the social media providers for deliberately supporting climate misinformation and disinformation.

“During COP, Twitter’s search engine pushed #ClimateScam as a top result without any justification for the data behind it,” said Erika Seiber, climate disinformation spokesperson at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Until governments hold social media and ad companies accountable, and companies hold professional disinformers accountable, crucial conversations around the climate crisis are going to be put in jeopardy,” said Seiber, pointing out that Twitter should be held accountable to explain how the inexcusable climate denial trend came to be.

 During the climate negotiations, conspiracies surrounding the ‘Great Reset’ and ‘New World Order’ were rife, presenting climate action as part of a plot by ‘global elites’ to exert control and, conversely, claiming that climate change has been ‘engineered’ to destroy capitalism.

At the same time, the climate deniers framed negotiations around ‘Loss and Damage’ as an unfair transfer of wealth to the ‘developing world’, contrasting Loss and Damage to austerity measures and heating bills in the UK, where most high-traction attacks originated during the summit before spreading in the US and Australia. This content largely sidestepped any reference to climate impacts, instead focusing on the benefits of fossil fuels for ‘human flourishing’.

Another newer trend according to the report was ‘wokewashing’ – the adoption of ‘progressive’ rhetoric to oppose climate action. Such framing spanned a range of arguments, including that ‘green technologies’ such as Electric Vehicles are bad or even worse for the environment than fossil fuels, and that climate action constitutes a form of ‘Western Imperialism’ or ‘neo-colonialism’.

CAAD is now calling on the US government, EU, UN, IPCC and Big Tech companies to acknowledge the climate disinformation threat and take immediate steps to improve transparency and data access to quantify disinformation trends, to stop misleading fossil fuel advocacy in paid ad content, enforce policies against repeat offenders spreading disinformation on platforms, and to adopt a standardised and comprehensive definition of climate disinformation.

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Climate advocates in Africa and across the world have expressed concerns following the appointment of Dr Sultan al-Jaber, the Chief Executive Officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to preside over the 2023 Conference of Parties (COP) on Climate Change.

“I have learned with consternation that they have nominated an oil merchant as President,” said Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Secretary of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which is a network of over 1000 African environment related civil society organizations.

“We need to be firm and protest against this impunity, otherwise, this is going to be a conference of polluters,” said Dr Mwenda, who has for two consecutive years been named among 100 top most influential individuals in the world by the

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) offers processing, refining, marketing, and distribution of crude oil, petroleum, gas, sulfur, and petrochemical products for consumption worldwide. As of 2021, the company had an oil production capacity exceeding 4 million b/d with plans to increase to 5 million b/d by 2030

“You wouldn’t invite arm dealers to lead peace talks. So why let oil executives lead climate talks? Burning fossil fuels is the single largest cause of the climate crisis, and the single biggest threat to solving it,” said Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness – an international environmental non-governmental organization.

“Hosting crucial climate talks in a repressive petrostate is one thing, having a fossil fuel CEO as its President is just mad. Even at this early stage it’s difficult to see how COP28 can lead to any positive progress on the climate crisis, when run by those with a stake in the continued burning of fossil fuels,” she said in a statement.

It is on record that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will host this year’s talks in November, registered at least 70 fossil fuel lobbyists to COP27 in Egypt, including Dr Al Jaber, who is the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for the Climate.

As a result, COP27 ended in disappointment for many, as fossil fuel producing nations including Saudi Arabia blocked a push by others, notably the US and EU, to include a promise to phase down all fossil fuels in the final deal.

Following his appointment, Dr Al Jaber noted that 2023 will be a critical year in a critical decade for climate action.

“The UAE is approaching COP28 with a strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition. In cooperation with the UNFCCC and the COP27 Presidency, we will champion an inclusive agenda that ramps up action on mitigation, encourages a just energy transition that leaves no one behind, ensures substantial, affordable climate finance is directed to the most vulnerable, accelerates funding for adaptation and builds out a robust funding facility to address loss and damage,” he said in a statement.

However, climate activists still maintain that Dr Al Jaber cannot preside over a process that is tasked to address the climate crisis with such a conflict of interest.

According to Tracy Carty, Global Climate Politics expert with Greenpeace International, appointment of Dr Al Jaber sets a dangerous precedent, risking the credibility of the UAE and the trust that has been placed in them by the UN on behalf of people, current and future generations.

“COP28 needs to conclude with an uncompromised commitment to a just phase out of all fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas,” she said noting that Greenpeace is deeply alarmed at the appointment of an oil company CEO to lead the global climate negotiations.

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