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Vanessa Nakate Warns Against New Fossil Fuel Projects In Africa

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Climate activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Nakate has warned against new fossil fuel projects on the African continent at the U.N. climate summit on Wednesday, arguing that oil and gas are “a dangerous distraction.”

Nakate added that “decades of fossil fuel development has failed to help the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without basic electricity access,” stressing that any projects in Africa will only serve energy demands in the global north.

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Nakate has previously spoken out against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline which would run through her country, Uganda.

She feared any new fossil fuel projects would “soon become stranded assets” which would leave “African countries with debts piled upon debt.”

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Nakate repeated her calls for rich countries to step up and pay for the damage cause by heat-trapping gases in poorer nations that are more vulnerable to climate change.

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Other young climate activists speaking on the sidelines of COP27 expressed concern for their future and said those responsible for climate change aren’t doing enough to help.

“With current commitments and no real action that is what is what matters,” said Nicole Becker, climate activist from Argentina.

“We are still in a scenario where we exceed the temperature limits to guarantee my generation a just and liveable future.”

– ‘Planet is burning’ –

Countries are under pressure to step up efforts to reduce emissions to meet the most ambitious Paris Agreement goal of preventing temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

China’s climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, told the summit that his country’s commitment to global efforts “will not retreat” — a day after UN chief Antonio Guterres urged Beijing and Washington to step up their efforts.

The leaders of Colombia and Venezuela, meanwhile, launched a call for a wide-ranging alliance to protect the Amazon, a crucial lynchpin of the global climate system.

A UN-backed report said developing countries and emerging economies, excluding China, need investments well beyond $2 trillion per year by 2030 if the world is to stop the global warming juggernaut.

One after the other, leaders of developing nations called for the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund that would compensate them for the here-and-now destruction caused by natural disasters, arguing that rich nations are responsible for the biggest share of planet-heating emissions.

Sharif pleaded for help after the recent floods in Pakistan had cost his country more than $30 billion in loss and damage: “How on earth can one expect from us that we will undertake this gigantic task on our own?”

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne — speaking on behalf of a group of small island nations endangered by rising sea levels and tropical storms — said it was time to tax the windfall profits of oil companies to pay for loss and damage.

“While they are profiting, the planet is burning,” Browne said.

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