November 27, 2021

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This Will Set Africa on Fire: Nnimmo Bassey of Nigeria Blasts Progress of U.N. Climate Summit Talks

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Today a draft agreement at COP26 was released, calling on nations to accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies and make pledges to cut emissions by the end of 2022. The draft also urges wealthy nations to “urgently scale-up” financial support for developing countries to help them adapt to the climate crisis. This comes as a new report by the group Climate Action Tracker estimates world temperatures are on track to rise by 2.4 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels based on current pledges to cut emissions — far higher than the 1.5 degree goal set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. To discuss the latest developments at COP26, we speak with Nigerian environmental activist and poet Nnimmo Bassey. “There’s no force behind what’s being proposed,” says Bassey, who adds that the current trajectory of negotiations will have devastating effects on Africa. “That means setting the continent on fire. It is just sacrificing the continent.” Bassey also discusses the role of China in Africa and the impact of the climate crisis on the continent. He has attended climate summits for years but says this may be his last one.

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