PAMACC News Agency
November 7, 2017
The decision by the US President Donald Trump to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement has been met with strong criticism from African civil society sounding a knell against countries or parties that follow in his footsteps.
African civil society under the leadership of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA have called on countries “to make the ultimate choice either in support of people and planet or Donald Trump and profit”.
In a report, “CSO Demands to COP23”, the civil society organizations stated unequivocally that the time of action in support of people and planet is now and not later. It cautioned that silence or inaction by any party(country) will be synonymous to backing Donald Trump’s pull out decision.
“Inaction by any party is equivalent to alliance with Donald Trump” the report stated.
They describe the pullout decision by Trump as an affront and travesty to climate justice, health of the planet and a threat to humanity in general and Africa in particular.
The report noted that Africa is feeling the pinch of climate change most with alarm bells ringing already on a number of issues, which are the cause of great concern among the African civil society and African people in general;
The failure to close the finance gap, the inadequate current pledges to stay below 2°C; the delay in addressing ‘orphan issues’ under the Paris Agreement namely, common timeframes for NDCs, adjustment of existing NDCs, the response measures forum, recognition of developing countries’ adaptation efforts, guidance related to finance, setting a new collective goal on finance, developed countries’ biennial finance communications, and education, training and awareness; the slow pace and ambiguity in sequencing of work on the Paris Agreement Rule Book thus creating roadblocks in advancing the its formulation, among others, were short falls raised in the report.
The report hailed Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 which they said should be seen as symbolic, coming at a time island states have suffered enormously due to climate-related hurricanes and tornadoes.
The report also called on delegates to fulfill demands: pursuant to Article 2 of the Paris Agreement with pledges to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, all parties to practically commit beyond their current level of emission target in their NDCs to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century and resubmit.
It should be noted that President Trump’s withdrawal has galvanized criticism even from US citizens and companies as well as the International community.
Like African civil society, several of the largest U.S. companies — such as Apple, Exxon Mobile and Ford Motor Company have also pledged to either stick to the climate accord or continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades in clear departure from Trump’s position.
However African civil society organizations are still calling on those sitting on the fence to come out publicly and declare their position. “We believe that Trump has silent allies who may not be candid enough to come out and publicly denounce globally agreed pact which offers hope for the people,” the report said.
According to PACJA’s Secretary General, Mithika Mwenda, the report is in line with the action plan of African civil society to drive national governments to action. “Civil society has an important role to play in ongoing climate talks, working in tandem to push national governments to action,” he said.
“Leaders have the liberty to make their own decisions but civil society represents the voice of the grass root communities and this is very important,” Mithika said.
The African position paper by the African civil society also wants development of mitigation mechanism to consider lessons and experience from the Joint Implementation mechanism and Clean Development mechanism.
“This should be backed by a centralized governance system of the mechanism for easy coordination, accountability and transparency” the report says.
It also demands that adaptation be crucial to protecting and promoting development gains, particularly in Africa and for support to be expedited to the least developed countries and other developing country Parties for the formulation of national adaptation plans.