UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Nakate Warns Against Fossil Fuel Projects in Africa
At the United Nations climate summit on Wednesday, November 9, climate activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Nakate warned against the development of new fossil fuel projects on the continent of Africa, saying that oil and gas are “a dangerous distraction.”
Nakate emphasized that any projects in Africa will only be used to meet the energy needs of those in the global north, noting that “decades of fossil fuel development have failed to help the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without basic electricity access.”
Nakate has already expressed her disapproval of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which would pass through Uganda, her home country.
Any additional fossil fuel projects, in her opinion, would “soon become stranded assets,” leaving “African countries with debts piled upon debt.”
Nakate reaffirmed her appeal to wealthy nations to take responsibility and foot the bill for the harm caused by heat-trapping gasses in less developed countries that are more susceptible to climate change. In an interview with AFP at the U.N. COP27 summit, 25-year-old Nakate said, “The world needs the United States to be a climate leader in our fight for climate justice.”
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Speaking on the sidelines of COP27, several young climate activists expressed worry for their future and claimed that the people responsible for climate change aren’t doing enough to mitigate it.
Nicole Becker, a climate activist from Argentina, said, “With current commitments and no real action, that is what matters. We are still in a scenario where we exceed the temperature limits to guarantee my generation a just and liveable future.”
Countries are under pressure to intensify their efforts to reduce emissions to achieve the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement, which is to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrial levels.
According to an UN-backed assessment, excluding China, poor and emerging economies will require spending well beyond $2 trillion annually by 2030 if the world is to stop the juggernaut of global warming.
Following one another, leaders of developing countries demanded the creation of a “loss and damage” fund to reimburse them for the immediate harm caused by natural disasters, claiming that wealthy countries were primarily to blame for the planet’s warming emissions.