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The Africa Climate Summit: Anti-Colonial Rhetoric Meets Green Colonialism

September 13, 2023
Inter Press Service


In the wake of the recent Africa Climate Summit, which convened in Nairobi from September 4-6, 2023, the world’s attention was drawn to the pressing challenges facing the African continent as it grapples with the devastating effects of climate change.

Accounting for less than 4 percent of global emissions, Africa is owed a significant climate debt by historical polluters, yet has received only 12 percent of the US$300 billion in annual financing it needs to cope with climate-related challenges.

The three-day Summit culminated in the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration, which articulates the shared position of African countries as they prepare for the upcoming COP28 climate change. Reflecting the deep historical injustices that have left the continent disproportionately vulnerable to worsening climate shocks, the declaration calls for “a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs,” including debt restructuring and relief, as well as a “carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax.”

However, these calls for justice ring hollow when examining the investments and initiatives actually prioritized at the Summit, revealing a striking paradox. During the gathering, the agenda primarily revolved around the expansion of carbon markets – a dangerous and false climate solution that opens up the continent to green colonialism and reinforces the status quo of North/South power imbalances.

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