Africa ‘betrayed’ as U. S. backs out of Paris climate pact

June 5, 2017 (GIN) – African countries contribute little to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but they still bear the brunt of global warming. Seven out of the world’s 10 countries considered the most threatened by climate change are in Africa.

Climate change in Africa is manifest in rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, and changes in rainfall patterns leading to floods or severe droughts. Since 1970, Africa has experienced more than 2,000 natural disasters, with just under half taking place in the last decade.

So it was a great disappointment when President Donald Trump, after much back and forth, chose to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement that was years in the making and signed by over 200 countries.

Leaders of African green movements and other developing regions say the U.S. move is “a betrayal” for poor people and another step closer to the climate cliff.

“For us in Africa, we’re already seeing the first big impacts of climate change,” commented South African environmental activist Kumi Naidoo. “Poor people have hardly contributed any emissions. For them to be facing the first and most brutal price of climate impacts, it’s just unjust.

“For us in Africa, people need to understand that it is not like climate impacts are going to hit us somewhere in the future. There are parts of the African continent that are becoming depopulated now as a result of climate-intensified desertification and climate-intensified drought. So we are seeing the reality now of climate refugees.

The biggest threat to peace, security and stability will come from the impacts of climate change,” he said, “which we are seeing already on the African continent in places like Darfur, in Sudan.”

Still, Naidoo, former head of Greenpeace and now chair of “Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity” has found an upside to the U.S. withdrawal.

“In fact, the President has energized the climate movement rather than de-energized it. There are activists who are talking about a strategic boycott of the United States, targeting certain products of the United States. It’s something that we’ve never heard talked about very seriously in the past.”

“Mayors in the United States, progressive governors, progressive businesses are saying to Trump: “We’re moving ahead anyway.”

New Peace and Justice group to launch African Liberation Day May 25



M. Lamin Saidykha

( – The former head of Greenpeace Africa took the opportunity of the climate march in Washington last weekend to announce that “Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity”- a new Africa-wide social movement focused on climate change – will be officially launched on African Liberation Day – May 25.
“It’s a terrible injustice that even though we the people of Africa collectively contributed the least to emissions, we are the ones that are paying the first and most brutal price,” said Kumi Naidoo, adding “we’ve got climate refugees, land that’s drying up, water sources that are disappearing and so on, which is already creating a quite a catastrophic situation.”
“We feel extremely hurt that the countries that carry the biggest responsibility continue to deny their responsibility, but also deny the very fact that the science is absolutely clear that we have to get off dirty energy,” he said in an interview with the news show Democracy Now.
Some 200,000 took part in the DC event, which included spontaneous music and informal speeches. The new group lists “Actions & Events” on their webpage for May 25.
“We chose that day so that we can remind ourselves, our leaders and the world that we are tired of waiting for that liberation to be delivered. And to show them that we are prepared to take action and hold political and business leaders accountable and reinvigorate the journey to that better life for all.”
It continues: “We are one of the youngest continents in terms of our demographic profile but we have some of the oldest leaders. If political leaders were honest with themselves many would acknowledge that they’ve been in power for far too long. They’ve run out of fresh ideas. We need to make way for younger people who have new perspectives on the problems facing the world.
Africans Rising is about deepening solidarity across the continent. We must step up and be the first to speak out against human rights violations.
The group’s coordinator is Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, a 32-year-old Gambian human rights activist who organized widespread protests leading to the resignation of former Gambian head of state Yahya Jammeh..
The Kilimanjaro Declaration, the movement’s founding charter, the Kilimanjaro Declaration, reads: “Africa is a rich continent. That wealth belongs to all our People, not to a narrow political and economic elite. We need to fight for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised.”
For more information, visit the webpage at
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