NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The first African Climate Summit ended with a call Wednesday for world leaders to rally behind a global carbon tax on fossil fuels, aviation and maritime transport, and it seeks reform of the world financial system that forces African nations to pay more to borrow money.
The declaration backed by the leaders of the continent of 1.3 billion people — a population set to double by 2050 — calls on the world’s biggest emitters of planet-warming greenhouse gases and its richest countries to keep their promises. It notes especially the unfulfilled pledge of $100 billion annually to developing nations in climate finance, made 14 years ago.
“No country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action,” the declaration says.
Adopted unanimously, the statement also calls for Africa’s vast mineral wealth to be processed on the continent, noting that “decarbonizing the global economy is also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity.”
Kenyan President William Ruto, a host of the summit, said $23 billion in commitments had been made at the event.
The summit has sought to reframe the African continent, which has enormous amounts of clean energy minerals and renewable energy sources, as less of a victim of climate change driven by the world’s biggest economies and more of the solution.
But investment in the continent in exchange for the ability to keep polluting elsewhere has angered some in Africa who prefer to see China, the United States, India, the European Union and others rein in their emissions of greenhouse gases.
Those carbon markets are “bogus solutions,” a Nigerian environmental advocate told the summit, providing a sharp reminder that not Africans support richer countries using the continent’s green spaces to offset continued polluting at home.