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Not without us !

Par Zyad Limam - Publié en novembre 2022

Here we are, all of us on the shores of the Red Sea, in Sharm el-Sheikh, for the 27th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change.The 27th COP, already... (The first one was held in Berlin in 1995.) Despite the disasters that are multiplying, despite the fires, the floods, the droughts, the summers in winter, the confusion of wet and dry seasons, despite the scientific reports that are piling up, we remain paralyzed like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car running full speed at him…

The profound disturbances of our ecosphere, the global warming of our planet that began with the industrial era, remains the greatest challenge facing humanity. A question of collective survival. A major threat on a quantifiable horizon, not so far away, let's say the end of the century. A tiny second, regarding the history of Earth, which is counted in billions of years. Chaos for our children and grandchildren...

The minimal objective set at the dead of night at the COP 21 (Paris, 2015), a warming of less than 1.5 °C by the end of the century, is already irrelevant. We are looking at a dreadful perspective of 2 °C, probably 2.5 °C, perhaps even worse. The rich countries and China are not keeping their repeated commitments. They are still consuming and producing as much carbon-based energy. At the same time, they are asking developing countries not to exploit their own resources (gas, oil, etc.). And to undertake unimaginable efforts in terms of costs to adjust to a green economy. An "approach" that is particularly unjust in the light of history. And even more, considering the urgency of getting billions of human beings out of precariousness through development.

There will be no fundamental climate transition without the South, without the many “Souths". Without major, quantifiable, real transfers of technology and financing (not just promises...). Without an awareness on the part of the many "Norths" that they cannot make it alone. Out of the 8 billion inhabitants of our planet, more than two thirds live in the emerging world. They aspire to more wealth, more economic security and climate justice. We cannot tell them: stay in poverty while others, fat of money, refuse to do their share. We will have to make common humanity, conceive ourselves as a whole, linked to each other from the north to the south of the planet, from the east to the west, the poor, the rich, the blacks, the whites, the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians, the inhabitants of the Pacific islands or of the Sahel...

Africa and its demography are at the center of all stakes. The continent remains poor, it does not pollute, or so little (4% of global emissions, for a little less than 20% of the world population), and yet it pays the heaviest tribute to climate change. To be clear, we are warming up faster than others... At the same time, our needs are immense. If tomorrow, Africa were to reach a level of industrial development comparable to that of India or Vietnam, if it were to triple its standard of living, which would be a minimum, if these efforts were to be made without a technological transition, without a systemic transformation of production, the continent would itself become one of the main causes of global warming.

For the 1.2 billion Africans today, it is already time for resilience and adaptation. We need to understand and define our own models of resistance and struggle. In Djibouti, at the end of October, the Regional Research Observatory for the Environment and Climate (ORECC) was inaugurated. This is a particularly useful tool in the Horn of Africa, which has been devastated by drought. We need also to invest massively in our food security and rethink our agriculture so that it serves the needs of our huge domestic market. This is the case, for example, in Côte d'Ivoire, with the implementation of the Abidjan Initiative.

We also need to bet on the future, to mobilize our energies to create value in this new world. We have immense arable land, still mostly virgin, that we can develop. We must invest, and have people invest, in renewable energies: we have water, sun, tides, wind, biomass, and large rivers as well. Finally, we must protect and develop our forests. Stop the uprooting, obtain funds to secure and increase the planted areas. Our forests are worth gold, their carbon absorption capacity is worth gold, our land is worth gold.

Changing the world will be impossible without us. For our continent, the battle is far from being lost.