- Seven African presidents will be in Rotterdam on September 5, but from Europe only Dutch PM Mark Rutte will show up.
- Leaders from nations including France, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, who have historically made contributions to climate adaptation, were invited, but None of them will arrive in person.
- “Europe doesn’t walk the walk, or how, when the chips are down Europe’s not around, basically Africa is Europe’s partner of convenience.” Theodore Murphy
African leaders are heading for the Netherlands next month seeking delivery on promised cash to help them cope with the destructive forces of climate change, but their European counterparts largely plan to skip the meeting. However, the days of Africa remaining a toothless tiger is over. Now the second largest continent has started growling. While the conflict between Russia and Ukraine rages on, Africa has begun to change for the better.
Last year at the COP26 Summit, more than 54 African nations proposed 1.3 Trillion per year from developed countries to compensate for the climate change they have impinged upon the globe. The African leaders asserted that between 2025 and 2030, developed countries need to provide “at least” $1.3 trillion a year to Africa and other countries in the name of Climate change, split evenly between climate mitigation and adaptation.
This call of Africa was immediately backed by India. But, Western dignitaries refrained from having a formal debate on the subject. The delegation complained about some parts of this proposal and resisted the discussion of it. More than ten months have passed since the idea was unveiled in front of the world. Africa’s attitude has undergone a complete transformation. Now, European leaders are avoiding talking about “green energy” with African leaders.
Is The EU Avoiding Africa?
According to Politico, European leaders are skipping meetings with African leaders. Seven African presidents will be in Rotterdam on September 5 to attend the climate summit, but from Europe, only Dutch PM Mark Rutte will show up. Leaders from nations including France, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, who have historically made contributions to climate adaptation, were invited, according to the summit’s organizers, the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA).
But guess what? None of them will arrive in person.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte — whose partly below-sea-level country prides itself on engineering that secures its existence and also hosts the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) where the meeting will take place — is the only European leader planning to attend in person.
The summit is the first major test of the developed world’s commitment, made at the most recent U.N. climate summit in Glasgow last November, to double its financial support for climate-proofing projects in poorer countries to roughly $40 billion per year by 2025, although the exact number is disputed. Patrick Verkooijen, the CEO of the GCA said;
“As some African heads of state travel to Rotterdam for the Africa Adaptation Summit, we hope their presence will be met with financial commitments to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program by their European counterparts.
“What really counts is for the developed world to deliver on the Glasgow Commitment [to] double adaptation finance.”
Organizers from the GCA said they had invited leaders from countries that have traditionally contributed to adaptation finance, including France, Denmark, Finland and Norway. But none of those have committed to make the short trip to Rotterdam in person, despite the anticipated presence of seven presidents from Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
The offices of the prime ministers of Finland and Norway — Sanna Marin and Jonas Gahr Støre — said they would be represented by their development ministers. Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen had a scheduling clash with Denmark’s day of remembrance for war veterans, a government official said, but she would appear in a video. A press officer for the Élysée Palace in Paris said President Emmanuel Macron also had another commitment and would be represented by a secretary of state.
The European Commission will be represented by Executive Vice President for the Green Deal Frans Timmermans. A spokesperson for the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had been invited but also had somewhere else to be.
A spokesperson for the GCA could not rule out that other leaders were invited.
The lack of in-person engagement from the highest levels of European governments is in stark contrast to the long distance attendance of the African leaders, for whom securing cash for climate adaptation will be a priority at this year’s COP27 climate talks in Egypt.
High profile leaders of international bodies including the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, European Investment Bank, African Development Bank and the U.N.’s second-in-command Amina Mohammed are all expected to join the summit in person.
Development finance for adaptation projects like sea walls, drought resistant infrastructure and early warning systems for extreme weather lags far behind funding for emissions-cutting projects like solar farms that more easily generate a ready income and attract private investment. In 2020, roughly a third of international climate finance — $28.6 billion — was spent on adaptation.
Spending on climate protection in Africa may also seem like a harder sell for European leaders at a time when their citizens face a generational cost-of-living crisis, said Theodore Murphy, director of the Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations, he said;
“Adaptation is not as sexy as mitigation. It’s egregiously underfunded. So that’s a hard sell in the best of times. It’s probably not the best time in Europe to be raising funds for something that nobody cares all that much about.”
Europe has attempted multiple resets in its relationship with Africa, most recently a summit in February in Brussels. But the EU’s desire to be Africa’s “partner of choice” was stymied by its refusal to meet African demands on patent waivers for coronavirus vaccines.
Murphy said that intransigence on climate funding carries its own risks to the relationship and may open up space for Europe’s rivals to pursue closer ties with Africa.
“The danger in this is that the Chinese and the Russians make hay with it. As another example of how Europe doesn’t walk the walk, or how, when the chips are down Europe’s not around, basically Africa is Europe’s partner of convenience.”
Climate finance expert Joe Thwaites from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. NGO, said it was difficult to trace China’s contributions to adaptation in Africa as it doesn’t have to report it in the same way as the richest countries, but he said it was likely that some money from Beijing was being used for that purpose. Russia normally does not made climate finance contributions.
Africa’s Arm-Twisting Tactic
This should be seen as a major victory of Africa’s arm-twisting tactics that have made Europeans completely surrender in front of Africa. For years, the EU has constantly manipulated Africa in the name of Climate change.
The extremely resource-rich African soil has been severely exploited by Europeans. This approach was the root cause of Africa’s underdevelopment for years. Hence, Africa is doing a facelifting act seeking $ 1.3 trillion from the big guns in Europe.
Africa is home to 17% of the world’s population, yet it only accounts for two to three percent of the emissions which contribute to climate change. However, the EU has reprimanded Africa, highlighting the continent’s fragility as a result of its slow socioeconomic growth.
However, emissions from the rest of the globe, especially the west, are relatively significant. Emissions are 13% in the European Union and 19% in the US respectively. Yet, they don’t want to follow their own ‘climate goals.’
Africa made a clarion call about climate change. Either the west needs to compensate or it will actively start exploiting its resource-rich motherland. Recently, the government in Congo announced that the nation would be auctioning its rainforests and basins to oil companies for drilling as ‘Its Priority Is Not to Save the Planet’.
Furthermore, several African nations have approached India for selling its lithium. Yes, you heard it right, Several African nations have approached India with offers to service a portion of their development loans in exchange for access to their mining activities and permission to export highly demanded lithium and cobalt.
EU’s dictatorial green agenda has failed terribly. There are increasing calls in Africa to continue exploiting fossil fuel reserves, as Europe has done for the last 150 years. The $ 1.3 trillion is a huge amount. Furthermore, the EU’s coffers are already running dry as the Ukraine war has soaked all of its money. Hence, there is no stopping Africa at this moment.