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A Just Climate Transition for Africa

A Just Climate Transition for Africa

In 2021, developed countries must work with low-income, developing, and emerging economies to chart a path toward a low-carbon future – and clear barriers to progress. This means, first and foremost, delivering the funding they promised.

ABUJA – From sweltering heatwaves to disrupted harvests, Nigerians are already feeling the effects of climate change, and the country’s fast-growing young population is working hard to develop innovative solutions to the escalating crisis. But climate change is not a challenge any country can tackle alone.

African countries, in particular, should not have to try. After all, although Africa is among the world’s most vulnerable regions – recurring droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa have already caused the share of undernourished people in drought-prone countries to grow by 45.6% since 2012 – it bears the least responsibility for the problem.

Moreover, in Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Togo, rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms have eroded coastlines, imposing costs exceeding 5% of these countries’ combined GDP in 2017. As the effects of climate change disrupt societies and destroy livelihoods, conditions for conflict ripen, with destabilizing effects that are rippling across the region.

Meanwhile, the developed economies, which bear the lion’s share of responsibility for climate change, largely ignore what is happening in Africa, refusing to take action on the scale that is needed. As a Nigerian proverb says, the roof fights the rain, but the person who is sheltered ignores it.

But those in the advanced economies who still feel protected from climate change will soon find that their roofs are leaking. And if Africa is already suffering, the devastation will be that much worse. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from being the only shared challenge we face in an interconnected world

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