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Friday 4 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) – To stem runaway climate change, COP27 must steer away from seductive-sounding ‘nature-based solutions’ and geoengineering fixes, and instead focus on cutting fossil fuel emissions at source, say Friends of the Earth International on the eve of the UN climate talks. 

Activists and experts from the world’s largest grassroots environmental network are in Egypt to advocate for action based on climate justice principles. That means, rich countries must do their fair share to address the climate crisis, through cutting their emissions and providing long overdue climate finance for Adaptation, and for Loss and Damage (the irreversible impacts of extreme weather changes). 

dipti bhatnagar (Friends of the Earth International) said from Mozambique:

“For COP27 to truly be the ‘implementation COP’ that protects people from devastating climate change, rich countries must go way beyond their weak and unmet commitment of $100 billion climate finance. We have had enough of these phoney ‘net zero’ pledges, which only allow polluters to continue polluting.”

A recent analysis by the environmental group(1) reveals the extent of the risks of land grabbing and dispossession from Indigenous Peoples, peasant farmers and other rural communities, for the massive land requirements of corporate ‘net zero’ pledges. 

dipti bhatnagar continued: 

“After COP26’s decision to go full steam ahead with carbon markets, global Southern countries are now bracing themselves for an onslaught of land grabs for offsets. What’s more, this year we face the threat that geoengineering – dangerous, unproven technologies aimed at removing carbon from the atmosphere – will sneak into the COP agreement. We need real emissions cuts, a massive scale-up of public climate finance, and a swift and just transition to renewable energy for everyone.”

In a context of extreme state repression of activists and journalists, Friends of the Earth International comes to this year’s summit to raise the voices of all those who defend human rights, democracy and the environment, in Egypt(2) and around the world. 

Africa, which last hosted the summit in Marrakech in 2016, is one of the fastest warming regions of the world, yet has the fewest resources to adapt(3). COP27 comes at a crucial moment for the region, whose peoples face a wave of landgrabbing, pollution and human rights violations from the renewed rush for gas following Russia’s unjust invasion of Ukraine. African peoples(4) and organisations worldwide are calling for corporations and wealthy countries to end financing of extractivist projects, such as Mozambique LNG(5) or TotalEnergies’ EACOP pipeline(6). 

Ubrei-Joe Maimoni (Friends of the Earth Africa) said from Nigeria:

“The craving for gas from Africa is a short-term fix for Europe, with long-term consequences for the continent. We are already struggling to survive extreme weather events, rising hunger and resource plundering by wealthy countries and companies. Around half of Africa’s people still lack access to electricity.”

“Gas is not a clean fuel, and we refuse to have our futures depend on fossil fuels. With the fair share of funding from wealthy countries and the political will, Africa could achieve the total transition to renewable energy that we need, by 2050.”(7)

Climate change-induced weather changes are already hitting hard worldwide, most keenly felt by the 3.3 billion people living in highly climate-vulnerable countries, almost all of whom are in the Global South. According to scientists(8), we have already seen some extreme climate events and conditions not projected to take place until 2100, with knock on impacts on food and farming, water resources, livelihoods and infrastructure. 

Friends of the Earth International will be in Sharm El-Sheikh to remind world leaders of the urgency to act and the justice and equity that must accompany every decision.

Notes for editors

References

  1. https://www.foei.org/publication/double-jeopardy-report-nature-based-solutions/ 
  2. https://copcivicspace.net/ 
  3. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/africa/africa-warming-faster-than-rest-of-world-ipcc-sixth-assessment-report-78424
  4. https://www.africaclimatejustice.org/ 
  5. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate/judge-rules-uk-government-decision-support-mega-gas-project-mozambique-unlawful 
  6. https://www.amisdelaterre.org/campagne/total-rendez-vous-au-tribunal/ 
  7. https://www.foei.org/publication/a-just-recovery-renewable-energy-plan-for-africa/
  8. https://www.foei.org/ipcc-new-climate-report-shows-accelerating-impacts-yet-rich-countries-tried-to-water-down-text/ 

Press conference

On Sunday 6 November, Friends of the Earth International host a press conference on our Expectations and demands for climate justice at COP27. 16.00-16:30 in Luxor Room, Taba Area, blue zone.

Spokespeople and media contacts

dipti bhatnagar, Climate justice & energy coordinator, Friends of the Earth International // dipti[at]foei.org // Whatsapp/Signal +258 84 035 6599 // @diptimoz // in Egypt 6-12 November // speaks English, Portugese, Spanish, Hindi

Sara Shaw, Climate justice & energy coordinator, Friends of the Earth International // sara[at]foe.co.uk //Whatsapp/Signal +44 79 7400 8270 // @climatemouse // in Egypt 12-20 November // speaks English, Spanish

Ubrei-Joe Maimoni, Climate justice & energy project coordinator, Friends of the Earth Africa // maimoni[at]foei.org // Whatsapp/Signal +234 806 389 4925 // in Egypt 5-11 November

Friends of the Earth members from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America are available to provide analysis and comments in English, Spanish, French, and other languages

For more info and to arrange interviews, contact:

Madeleine Race // madeleine[at]foei.org // @foeint // available remotely 1-12 November // in Egypt 13-20 November

Babawale Obayanju // owaleseun[at]gmail.com // WhatsApp/Signal +234 807 205 1368 // @tifekorede // in Egypt 5-17 November

Activities

For an overview see this Press Advisory, 28 October 2022

Publications

For more details about the dangers of ‘nature based’ and technological solutions, and an overview of key policy issues this year, see: COP27 briefing: What’s at stake regarding false solutions? (November 2022)

Friends of the Earth Africa’s position on gas exploitation: Don’t let Africa burn! (November 2022)

For an analysis of Big Polluter ties to prominent ‘net zero’ initiatives, see: Conflicted beyond credibility (November 2022)

For a critical look at the impacts on food sovereignty and land from proposals that make up the ‘net-zero’ package, see: Double Jeopardy: The rising threat to food sovereignty and agroecology from false climate solutions (November 2022) 

More details on why ‘Net Zero’ and offsetting won’t work, and how fossil fuel companies and investors are seeking expand the voluntary carbon market: Fossil futures built on a house of cards (June 2022)

A technical plan and vision for Africa to achieve an energy system based 100% on renewables by 2050: A Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa (September 2021)