The US informs Africa: Climate change impacts all, so let’s refrain from assigning blame
John Kerry, the United States Special Envoy for Climate, emphasized the importance of not blaming any specific country for carbon emissions in his speech at the Africa Climate Summit 2023 in Nairobi. He urged a shift in focus towards ensuring that Africa is not left behind in the fight against climate change. At the same conference, Kenyan President William Ruto called for the implementation of a carbon tax in African countries to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
- Addressing the African conference, John Kerry expressed the need to avoid finger-pointing regarding climate change and instead concentrate on inclusive efforts to combat it. He stressed the significance of preventing Africa from being disproportionately affected by climate change.
- The US supports the efforts of President Joe Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) and aims to aid half a billion people, particularly in Africa, in adapting to the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The US is committed to providing annual funding of over R57 billion from 2024 for this purpose.
- During the Climate Change Summit, Kenyan President William Ruto proposed the implementation of a carbon tax to ensure economic growth aligns with climate protection.
In his speech, John Kerry pointed out that while Africa contributes between 3.4% and 3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is at the highest risk of climate change impacts. He emphasized that attributing blame based on carbon footprints, regardless of their size, is misguided.
The United States does not support the idea of richer nations accepting liability for past emissions, which is a demand from poorer countries. Kerry stated that the focus should instead be on preventing Africa from being left behind.
To assist in this effort, the US, through President Joe Biden’s PREPARE plan, led by USAID and the Department of State, intends to provide support to half a billion people in developing countries, with a strong emphasis on Africa. However, the success of this program depends on the commitment of African leaders.
Therefore, the US plans to allocate more than R57 billion annually from 2024 through PREPARE. Kerry also mentioned President Biden’s commitment to providing $3 billion for adaptation by 2024, the largest commitment in US history. Additionally, the US is working with partners to design an effective fund to assist vulnerable developing countries in responding to loss and damage.
Under PREPARE, the US will allocate over R570 million to accelerate climate-resilient food security efforts across Africa. This fund will be divided into two phases, with $20 million allocated to the Africa Adaptation Initiative for the Food Security Accelerator, which aims to support African agricultural businesses and help them establish independent and climate-resilient supply chains. Furthermore, $10 million will be granted to the Climate Resilience and Adaptation Finance and Technology Transfer Facility to promote adaptation technologies such as cold chain storage, which ensures the quality and safety of food from farm to home.
In conclusion, John Kerry highlighted the urgency of not leaving Africa behind in tackling the climate crisis. Meanwhile, President William Ruto proposed the implementation of a carbon tax as a measure to align economic growth with climate protection at the Climate Change Summit.