United States Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry delivers a speech during the Africa Climate Summit 2023 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on 5 September 2023. (Photo by Luis Tato / AFP)
- Nature does not care who puts carbon in the atmosphere, so, nor should humans, a US envoy has told an African conference.
- John Kerry would rather see a focus on making sure Africa is not left behind.
- Meanwhile, Kenyan President William Ruto has called on African countries to introduce carbon tax to mitigate climate change effects.
There is no time to point fingers about climate change, the US special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, has told African leaders.
Efforts should, instead, focus on combating climate change without leaving the continent behind, he said.
Kerry was addressing a press conference at the ongoing Climate Change Week, running concurrently with the first Africa Climate Change Summit.
Africa’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is between 3.4% and 3.9%, the smallest share among all the world’s regions in the past two decades. But the continent is likely to be the hardest hit by climate change.
In Kerry’s view, assigning blame is wrong, no matter how big or small one’s carbon footprint is.
“Mother Nature doesn’t choose between the emissions of one country and those of another. What affects Mother Nature is the total emissions that go into the atmosphere,” he said.
Poorer countries have demanded that richer countries accept liability for their past emissions – but that is not something the US supports.
“This is not a unique position for the United States and many nations in the world. We have said we are not going to create a liability structure…” Kerry said.
The mistake to avoid, he added, was leaving Africa behind because the continent was “disproportionately affected by the climate crisis”.
As such, the US, through President Joe Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) led by USAID and the Department of State, would “help half a billion people in developing countries, especially in Africa, adapt to the worst impacts of this crisis this decade”, Kerry said.
But the programme will only work if African leaders also make it a priority.
Hence, the US, through PREPARE, is set to provide more than R57 billion every year from 2024.
“[President Joe Biden is] committed to work with Congress to provide $3 billion for adaptation by 2024, the largest commitment in US history.
“And it is why we are working with partners on the transitional committee this year to design an effective fund to help vulnerable developing countries respond to loss and damage,” said Kerry.
Under PREPARE, he added, the US would also avail more than R570 million to accelerate climate-resilient food security efforts across Africa.
Kerry said the fund would be broken down into two phases.
“First, we will provide $20 million to the Africa Adaptation Initiative for the Food Security Accelerator, which will invest in African agricultural businesses and help them create their own independent and climate-resilient supply chains.
“Second, $10 million will go to the Climate Resilience and Adaptation Finance and Technology Transfer Facility to scale technologies advancing adaptation like cold chain storage, which help maintain the quality and safety of food from the farm all the way into peoples’ homes,” he added.
Meanwhile, in his opening speech at the Climate Change Summit, Kenyan President William Ruto proposed a carbon tax that would ensure economic growth is consistent with climate protection as a result of changes in consumption and investment patterns brought about by the fees.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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Publish date : 2023-09-06 16:09:34