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SAMUEL OBEDGIU: Cop 27, Africa needs justice in climate finance

Samuel Obedgiu is an Agricultural Scientist and Environmental Activist (PHOTO/Courtesy)

Samuel Obedgiu is an Agricultural Scientist and Environmental Activist (PHOTO/Courtesy)

The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 or COP27 is underway in Egypt. For the first time, presence of African countries larger than ever before.

President Museveni won’t be in attendance personally, but he sent a delegation headed by First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, and the Water, Environment and Energy ministers.

I am happy that this conference will focus more on climate finance for the developing countries.

Since industrialization began in Britain in the 1800s, the global north has been responsible for the vast majority of the world’s carbon emissions. And they have got rich in the process.

Most countries argue that they have contributed little to this climate crisis but are feeling its effects more. As a result, the countries from the global south want money from advanced nations.

Since 1850, the U.S has cumulatively emitted more than 509 billion tons of CO2, that is double what china has emitted. The climate change risks for countries that are the largest emitters are low compared to what is felt in the global south.

Joint research from the European commission and other international agencies found that’s its generally low income-lower emission countries facing the highest risk.

As a result, organizations like world resources institute based in Washington DC, are discussing climate finance for these nations at risk of facing the worst effects of climate change. The problem I have with these climate finance discussions for developing nations is that they look at giving handouts to African countries in reaction to climate catastrophe.

They don’t focus on building resilience and human capacity in Africa to deal with climate change risks that have been caused by developed nations.

In 2009, at COP 15, developed countries committed to jointly mobilizing $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020 to support developing countries with reducing emissions. But this was delayed to 2025.

However, in 2020, the developed nations provided $83.3 billion, falling short by 16 billion.
Most of the developed countries such as U.K, France and Japan providing this climate finance money to African countries inform of loans not grants.

This is unfair to us in the global south and it’s just increasing our debt burden. Even the IMF which created the resilience and sustainability trust (RST) in April this year for developed countries facing risks of climate change will still give loans not grants. This is unfair.

The reason African countries need climate justice in climate finance is to do the kind of sustainable agricultural research that only the west can afford. For example, In Copenhagen, Denmark, a lot of capital intensive research and development has gone into the idea of vertical farming. At the moment, 38% of the world’s land area is used for food production, it consumes 70% of fresh water and is responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The vertical farms experiment in Denmark seeks to solve these challenges. But without access to finance Makerere University can’t undertake this research.
In Africa, the link between agricultural practices and climate change are real. 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from Agriculture. Therefore, our universities need finance to undertake research and development.

The best part about vertical farming facilities is that they constantly recycle water to limit the amount of water spent on agricultural production.

These vertical farms use 95% less water than conventional vegetable farming. We need agricultural practices that utilize less fresh piped water, which is currently very expensive in Uganda and unaffordable to many.

The only reason why African might not embrace vertical farming facilities is that the technology is still very expensive. They cost about 25 million Euros. But this can be remedied by devoting substantial amounts of budgetary financing to agriculture.

Egypt is right to put this issue of climate finance high on top of the agenda at cop 27

This writer, Samuel Obedgiu is an Agricultural Scientist and Environmental Activist
Email; sammyobedgiu@gmail.com

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