By Ekemini Simon
Rights Advocacy and Development Center (RADEC) has described as most unfortunate and insensitive Nigeria’s target to record net zero emissions in the year 2060.
RADEC says this plan is particularly insensitive to the plights of the people of the Niger Delta who have for about 60 years lived with challenge of a devastated environment.
In his address, President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari during the UN Cop-26 climate conference in Glasgow had said Nigeria is more of a gas country than oil hence would be targeting 2060 as it’s net zero emissions plan.
Yet in a statement tagged ” Time for Real Action, Not Net Zero!!!” and issued by the Coordinator of Rights Advocacy and Development Center (RADEC), Kentebe Ebiaridor, while marking both the Africa Day of Action and also the Global day of Action on climate change, the organisation called on the Nigerian government to put a halt to what it described as propagation of false narratives such as Net Zero Emissions at a time the world requires Real Zero Emissions as the way out of calamitous climate change.
Ebiaridor pointed out that COP26 should not be an arena for deliberations on what he tagged as false notions such as Nature Based Solutions, Net Zero, Carbon neutrality, carbon offsetting but rather real actions including keeping fossil fuel resources in the ground.
He offered insight to the fact that the use of Nature Based Solutions should not be an excuse for land and sea grabbing and displacement of indigenous communities especially as the divestment of the oil companies are ongoing.
RADEC Coordinator insisted that government need to urgently go back to a binding global emissions reduction rather than the “so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which according to the UN computations of submissions made so far will lead the world to a calamitous temperature increase of up to 2.7oC above pre industrial levels which will make the Niger Delta go extinct.”
He maintained that there should be no new coal, oil, or gas extraction expansion plans in line with the best available science as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Program.
He added ” we call on our African governments, including the African Group of Negotiators, and those in the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group to go to COP26 in Glasgow and negotiate in the interests of our African peoples and our planet, not in the interests of the elites and the polluters.
” Acknowledging that our 10 hottest years have all been recorded since 2005. The temperature across Africa is projected to be hotter than previously experienced in the recorded past, and will rise faster than the global average across most of the continent. With about 80 percent of our people depending on agriculture and local food systems to survive, most of whom are peasant women food producers, food insecurity levels are being intensified in the Niger Delta and lives and livelihoods are at severe risk.
“We must make a decisive decision on gas flares now! Climate change and its impacts are linked to our colonial past and imperialist development, which were and still are based on a capitalist, extractives model. Indeed, the modern economy has created the climate, ecological, economic and social crises we face today.
“These intersecting crises continues to be deepened by a colonial, patriarchal and neo-liberal model of accumulation- driven by a logic of domination, exploitation and destruction of human beings and nature.”
RADEC Coordinator noted that they have watched with dismay as the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Conference of Parties (COPs) an annual space for intergovernmental negotiations, have been unable to progress towards real solutions to the climate crisis.
Ebiaridor insisted that this stems from the fact that its agenda and actions have been skewed to preserve the profit-driven, vested interests of powerful corporations and their allies in governments.
He accused UNFCCC and COPs of undermining solutions that address the core causes of climate change stressing that corporate polluters and the government negotiators at the UNFCCC do not want to take financial, legal or any responsibility for the damage caused, or to genuinely reduce carbon emissions and pollution.
Ebiaridor said RADEC is marking the two environmental days in order to build a unified understanding and shared political action towards real solutions to the climate, ecological and social crises facing Africa.
He explained that the need for urgent action stems from the fact that the African continent is being hit by heat waves, droughts, wildfires, dried soils, cyclones, storms, locust plagues, flooding, sea level rise and other climate-related disasters of which the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is not left out.
The statement noted that RADEC had used the opportunity to sensitize and students of the Government School in Okwuzi, in ONELGA LGA of Rivers state on the impacts of climate change on their environment and livelihoods.
The statement reads that ONELGA LGA has one of the highest deposits of gas reserves not just in Nigeria but in the West African region.
“Communities in that region have for over 50 years on a daily basis been exposed to gas flares which burns in the midst of the communities. It is a well-known fact that one of the greatest contributors of climate change is gas flares.”
The statement added that RADEC further embarked on a rally alongside community people to express their displeasure on the plight of the environment.