Jhe climate crisis disproportionately affects countries in the South. In Nigeria, climate change is no longer a threat but a reality.
This year’s flood in Nigeria affected millions of people: homes, farms, schools – our country lost billions of dollars from the damage. It affected more than two-thirds of Nigeria, making it a total disaster. Yet this is just one of the many realities of the climate crisis we face. This has been our reality for a very long time.
Currently, in my region – West Africa – the climate crisis is exacerbating armed conflicts and violence between farmers and herders, due to control of resources and loss of livelihoods. The same is true in other parts of Africa. Climate change is causing hunger, food insecurity and poverty due to environmental instability.
It is so prevalent that a simple “Loss and Damage Fund” is non-negotiable. Therefore, without climate finance, we cannot solve the climate crisis – and without climate finance, we cannot adapt to build resilience against the climate crisis.
Without climate finance, loss and damage become inevitable. The reality of the climate crisis is both far and near. That is why says the IPCC that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees would require rapid and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.
According to recent studies, the economic cost of loss and damage by 2030 has been estimated at 400 billion dollars per year and between 290 and 580 billion dollars in developing countries alone. By 2050, the economic cost of loss and damage in developing countries is estimated at between $1 and $1.8 trillion.
Lake Chad, once one of Africa’s largest lakes, is shrinking. We’ve lost 90% of that to environmental instability. More frequently, we have faced weather-related events such as droughts, floods, cyclones and other disasters at the same time.
We cannot even recover from one crisis until we are hit by another. It costs us a lot. A single crisis can displace millions of people, let alone multiple crises. We are in a race against the climate crisis. And the negotiations take up all of our space and all of our time, when real and urgent action is needed.
Cop has been happening since before I was born, but nothing seems to have happened. What we need is After action and fewer negotiations. If the promises and commitments made by the previous Cops had come true, the world would not be in a state of planetary emergency. What happened to pledge by rich countries to “mobilize” $100 billion in climate finance each year by 2020 to help vulnerable countries cope with climate change?
And the Paris climate agreement? Multiple promises, once again, but here we are: seeing big polluters buy their way out thanks to carbon credit. Failing to meet our commitments is as dangerous as making no commitments at all.
At COP27, we must listen to science and not the big polluters who want to influence the outcome of the conference according to their selfish agenda. The climate crisis is not just about signing an agreement, but about making it happen. We must make every Cop climate conference count through action and more action. We need to treat it as seriously and as immediately as we did the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to reports, Nigeria’s Lagos State could be covered in water before the end of this century due to sea level rise. Committing to carbon neutrality by 2050 is like saying we will stop the Covid-19 pandemic by 2050 without a vaccine. The “vaccine” to end the climate crisis is climate finance.
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We also need to remember that just because COP27 is in Egypt doesn’t mean Western countries shouldn’t get involved. We should demand equal representation, especially of marginalized communities.
Just because he’s in Egypt doesn’t necessarily mean he should be an “African cop.” We don’t need to label it that way. Whether it takes place in the UK or the US, what matters most is that deals are made and delivered.
The COP27 should, however, focus on the vulnerable countries most affected by the climate crisis.
We have not honored the commitments of the previous Cops. Here we are, at COP27, with another chance. I look forward to the day when the climate conferences take place beyond negotiation to translate into action in real time. The longer we delay necessary action, the greater the loss and damage. To all of us.
Oladosu Adenike is a climate justice activist, eco-feminist and eco-reporter based in the Lake Chad region