Johannesburg, South Africa, 22 April, 2021 — With the US President Joe Biden’s ‘Leaders Summit’ underway and five African Presidents at the table, Greenpeace Africa is highlighting what leaders in Africa and around the world need to do to stay true to the Paris Agreement and protect the continent’s rich biodiversity and thereby the global climate.
Greenpeace Africa statement:
African leaders must do more than just be at the table of biodiversity and climate summits. We need them to be serious about tackling emissions at home and unequivocal about protecting their country’s natural biodiversity in order to tackle a climate crisis which has the continent seeing worse and worse extreme weather impacts every year. Protecting biodiversity at home means making hard decisions, such as banning new fossil fuel infrastructure and making sure local communities and Indigenous People are empowered to protect their ancestral lands. For non-African leaders at the summit, while our Presidents may push for financial support, because African countries are particularly attuned to the impacts of climate change which is perpetrated by the West, there can be no resilient green recovery without debt relief.
On South Africa, Greenpeace Africa Senior Political Strategist, Happy Khambule, said:
“We need to see President Ramaphosa get serious about the climate emergency in South Africa which has resulted in yearly deadly droughts. This means enacting a bill to drastically reduce emissions by COP26 and appoint an implementing coordination committee to oversee a just workers’ transition out of coal and into more sustainable, healthy and long-lasting careers which renewable sources offer.”
On Kenya, Greenpeace Africa Senior Political Advisor, Fredrick Njehu, said:
“President Uhuru’s invitation to attend a Climate summit is crucial in so many ways. We are currently experiencing a climate crisis across the continent which requires global cooperation and urgent action. Kenya is faced with a dual onslaught of both a climate crisis and the on-going Covid-19 health pandemic. Kenyan president has an opportunity to provide the much needed leadership, commitment to climate ambitions that helps Kenya address the ongoing climate chaos with recurrent droughts as a matter of national priority.”
On the Congo Basin Rainforest Greenpeace Africa Congo Basin Forest CampaignInternational Project Leader, Irene Wabiwa, said:
“Natural intact forests absorb climate-harming Co2 and Africa has the last rainforest in the world that still functions as a carbon sink which should make the protection of the Congo basin a global priority which requires global support. Congolese and other Central African governments must shift their support from industrial destruction and degradation of the rainforest towards collaborating with and empowering local communities and Indigenous People, who remain the best guardians of the forest and its rich biodiversity. Community forest management plans need national and international backing, in order to pick up pace and become recognized as the local system of ownership.”
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On plastic waste and climate change, Greenpeace Africa Digital Mobilization Officer, Angelo Louw, said:
“Africa is not your plastic rubbish bin. This kind of waste colonialism needs to be addressed by the Biden administration, because plastic dumping is not just a waste problem, it is also a climate, health and social justice Issue. 99% of plastic is made from fossil fuels, like fracked gas and oil, and it contributes immensely to climate change throughout its lifecycle. The current US administration has an obligation to use trade deals to advance the goal of tackling the climate crisis the world is undergoing, and any further trade agreements that undermines this should be called off.”