Bonn endgame: Africa rebels as climate talks collapse

By |2013-06-27T16:08:14+00:00June 19th, 2013|CFACT Insights|9 Comments

When Russia caused the Bonn climate talks to collapse by preventing the SBI from meeting, it may have awakened other nations to no longer sit docilely by while their people’s interests are being gored.

Representatives of Africa are stepping up and asking whether it is truly a just climate policy to pay a poor African to remain poor.

African environment ministers from 54 nations recently stated they were not obligated to use their lands to mitigate carbon emissions since in their view Africa is not responsible for climate change.

Eco-Imperialism old new againAfrican representatives are worried about a new round of eco-imperialism in Africa with carbon offset projects leading to “land-grabbing” by developed nations.  They are concerned that agriculture is being pushed into “carbon farming” which benefits foreign investors rather than food production and cash crops which benefit Africans.

The UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and REDD+ forest initiative provide schemes whereby developed countries can “offset” their emissions by paying into projects in developing lands such as Africa.  Vast sums of money are changing hands, but not to the benefit of Africa’s poor.

A growing number of Africans are saying “no!” to forestry and “carbon soil” projects which would use their land for carbon credit schemes.  These carbon schemes require poor people in developing nations to lock their land into subsidized less productive uses.  The bulk of the profit goes to local elites and carbon investors from western nations.

A study by the Institute for Agriculture Trade Policy found that a $2.5 million carbon offset scheme in Kenya broke down to $1.05 million for Swedish and other operators from the west, while requiring 60,000 Kenyan farmers to share the remainder which comes out to $23.83 each over 20 years, or just over one dollar each per year.  In exchange for their dollar these African farmers must lock themselves into burdensome farming requirements and UN flag before Maritim smost importantly, lock themselves into poverty and out of the high yield farming which has essentially ended starvation in the west.  This is a painful price for Africans to pay to assuage developed world guilt over having undergone the industrial revolution.

The “Earth Partners” released a complex methodology for quantifying soil carbon capture which provides a good example of the types of schemes in play and why there is little in them which would benefit the poor.

“There is a profound danger to agriculture here, with real potential for more land grabbing and expansion of monocultures in order to harvest credits,” said Helena Paul of EcoNexus, (IPS News).

Others are calling on Europeans to abandon what they are describing as their “failed experiment of market mechanisms” and to instead go all-in on wealth redistribution by making massive direct payments to Africa under the UN’s pending “loss and damage” scheme (see CFACT’s report).

A particularly stark example of the danger which modern eco-imperialism represents to Africa is what occurred when the London based New Forests Company used armed guards to brutally push Ugandans out of their homes to make way for a carbon offset project.  Homes were burnt and eight-year-old Friday Mukamperezida burned to death while his mother was out getting medicine for the boy who was sick in bed.  See much more on this incident here.

CFACT has a different vision for Africa.  Africans are entitled to all the benefits that flow from a free and prosperous society.  Africa does not need paltry handouts designed to keep them poor, and certainly should not tolerate a new wave of eco-imperialism.  What Africa and the rest of the developing world really need are free markets, property rights, free elections and the rule of law.  Developed nations should concentrate their efforts on helping them achieve this, open markets to their products, share technology and provide a helping hand to further them along a constructive path.


Craig Rucker delivers laptops in Uganda

Should Africans be willing to lock themselves into poverty to make rich nations feel better about themselves?  Those who truly care about Africa will help them instead onto a constructive course.  Let African industry arise.  Let high yield farming eliminate starvation.   Only a prosperous Africa with the means to provide its people with the education, health care, nutrition and prosperity developed nations take for granted should be acceptable to Africans and to Africa’s true friends.
Those Africans who stood up in Bonn to reject carbon farming should do so again when the climate talks reconvene for COP 19 in Warsaw in November.  Those who care about real progress for Africa should join them.


Ugandans evicted for carbon credits


  1. Annette Rose Giesbrecht June 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    What do they mean, that it is so we feel good about ourselves? No way. I hate the idea that many in my country, Canada, have to pay higher gas and oil prices especially in winter when it can go down to forty below zero. If that is the way that the African Negros feel, well perhaps we should stop donated to the charities there and consentrate on those in our own country. After all, the poor in our land need help especially in the winter.

    From a rather upset lady who hates being called conceited and does not like being insulted by those who really do not know how we in the West really feel.

    • Katie June 21, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Annette You are a truly shallow person if you can get upset about these comments. People in the West have taken advantage of African nations for years so that they can have a better lifestyle while people in Africa live in dire poverty and starvation. When did the West ever live like the people of Africa? This global warming is a scam and one that is costing some their lives. Fuel is cheap in the West and while we reap the money for this scam using their land for bio fuels to better our lives, they starve and live in poverty. Just about sums up the selfish West.

      • Annette Rose Giesbrecht June 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        The trouble is that you seem to lump everyone in the west with the same brush. And do you think that is going to get people to help those poor people in Africa and Asia? I do not like doing things out of guilt and it seems you have put me in a bad situation. If I do find some money that I do not need to help someone where I live, I feel if I give some money to AFrica or Asia, it would be assiumed that is out of greed or I am a selfish ingrate who is proud that I am more then they, and if others feel like me, that would cut down the charitable giving not increase it. There are those of us who donate money to these poor people and those of us who believed in the Care adage of give a man a fish and you get him to eat, but give him the tools necessary, such as a net then he will provide for yourself.” But what I am seeing now on the tv is ‘donate money, donate moneuy’ and seldom do I see offerings for volunteers to help build schools and training for the people over there to start their own businesses. What we should be doing is helping these people to make a living on their own. And if you go back hundreds of years, people in Europe were starving and even now in Russia and the Ukraine there are people going through hard times n the Winter, but the trouble is that they do not have the dark faces to emote sympathy. Oh by the way, what about the concentration camp victims. From what I saw of those photos and the movies, they did not look that well nourished.

        • Katie June 22, 2013 at 2:16 PM

          Well, good job you live in Canada then where you won’t have to worry about corrupt governments doing things for money that will make you starve! Africa is a big money making machine for the rich business men of this world and nothing more. Its people have been robbed of their natural wealth and with stupid carbon credits for no good at all it can only get worse. I am happy that I live in the West but hope that the poor in Africa can get a better standard of living without being ripped off by the likes of WWF etc. Of course there is poverty everywhere but that does not mean it is right to let it carry on in any part of the world just do that rich people can get richer. Something can and something should be done about it and now.
          Hope you enjoyed your meal tonight and know what you are having for breakfast tomorrow. Many don’t.

          • commandergreen June 22, 2013 at 11:30 PM

            Do you know why africa is in such a bad state, because they are breeding like wild animals, when they cant even feed themselves. There population is expected to double by 2050 and then double again by 2100. You and the rest of the DO GOODERS want to keep sending them “AID”. Maybe when the chicoms colonize africa they will impose a 1 child policy thats really there only hope.

            • Katie June 23, 2013 at 5:12 AM

              Quite the contrary. If Africa were allowed to take advantage of their natural wealth instead of being ripped off by the west and big business taking all the profits while leaving them poor we would not have to give them aid. I am sure they would rather live without aid. The West can hardly talk about over population. We get our food from other parts of the world and could not feed ourselves without this privilege. Families here have more children than they need and some of them are on benefits. A handout and Aid. We have contraception and hospitals and doctors on hand here so there is no excuse for women to go out and wilfully get pregnant. In Africa most of them do not have this privilege. What a hypocrital thing to say that they should only have one child while we go on giving out money to women to have numerous children with different fathers and pay them to do so.

            • CFACT Ed June 24, 2013 at 7:43 AM

              Where there is freedom and prosperity there is no population problem. Africa is a beautiful land of great people who have been betrayed too many times. Stand with them.

  2. cfact ed June 21, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Annette, The African representatives who spoke up in Bonn have the same hopes and aspirations for their land as you do for yours. It is the climate folks in Bonn and those trying to profit from the carbon offset schemes who are at odds with you both.

  3. TN4guy June 21, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    I’m glad that ‘carbon farming’ is getting in the news. You should point out the full cycle of these ‘carbon farms’ where they cut down and replant periodically to maximize their carbon credits and then make charcoal from the refuse. That is great for the locals who cook with charcoal but it kind of defeats the whole idea that they are collecting carbon when it is ultimately going to be released again.

    I support what you are doing to counter the ‘global warming’ agenda but I have to say that you should stay out of African politics and let them pursue their own ‘different vision for Africa’. It is a nice picture of you giving laptops to a Ugandan but since only 3-5% of the population has access to intermittent electricity, I’m not sure it is relevant and has nothing to do with ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’.
    BTW, the Ugandan government claims 10% of the population has access to the internet. Is that 10% of the 5% who have electricity?

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