Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|November 22, 2022|3 Minutes|In Opinion


Ditch the bloated talk shop - Africa wants action!

There was a lot of back-slapping following the tense talks in Egypt that sealed the new COP 27 agreement that has been hailed by many rich and powerful people in Africa – I really don’t know why.

The centerpiece of the agreement was a loss and damage fund where the rich nations would pick up the bill for the climate mayhem, from storms to global warming, inflicted on poorer, emerging, nations many of whom are in Africa.

Many of the cynics at the conference called it a plan to make a: “down payment  on disasters.” Seasoned watchers of the conference believe this is another example of empty posturing from a bloated talk shop from which very little emerges. Presidents turn up for photo opportunities to convince the world they care.

For instance, the loss and damage fund will be set up by a steering committee, to be instituted next year.

Anyone, with any experience of pedantic and slow-moving bureaucrats – as I have had in four decades of journalism – the words steering and committee make your heart sink.

To add irony, COP 27 was hosted by a company that would like to buy the world a Coke and is one of the biggest plastic polluters in the world. I think it is a classic example of what they call these days- greenwashing.

To add injury, there were 600 powerful fossil fuel industry representatives at the conference who’s jobs rely upon keeping the oil status quo. Reports say they have been circling the oil producing nations of Africa to step up fossil fuel production before it is too late. If you are a cash-strapped African nation you would have to be pretty strong to resist such overtures.

On top of all that, ever since the COP conferences started life in a blaze of optimism in Rio de Janeiro, back in 1992,  there has been little to write home about.

For a start, after more than 20 years of talking and political posturing, there has never been an agreement to cut the world’s use of fossil fuel – the act that is at the heart of it all. Until then, all the talk and memorandums are as good as an empty coke bottle.

Wouldn’t it be better to take all of that money and invest it with young entrepreneurs in Africa who have ideas to combat climate change at its very roots that could also create jobs and wealth on the ground – even though the continent only produces about 4%  of the world’s carbon emissions?  Projects of green energy, cutting down the use of fossil fuels, not mere greenwashing – game changing.