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Africa is already heavily suffering from the climate crisis which leads to expanding hunger and refugee crisis. The extraordinary impacts have to do with the fact, that the temperature rise on the continent is 50 % above global average. "When the Paris agreement says 1.5 or well below 2 degrees Celsius, it’s really saying: Africa could go to places, Africa could burn". But nonetheless oil exploration and extraction are still being pushed for instance in Uganda. There are already plans by fossil fuel corporations to invest 1.5 trillion dollars until 2050 in new oil projects in Africa alone. The announcements by financial corporations to make their investments „carbon neutral“ are empty promises and deceitful. Furthermore, the greenhousegas emissions of one of the most polluting sector, the military, are still being excluded from the climate negotiations. While the military gets 2 trillion dollars per year from the industrialized countries they on the other hand promise to give only 100 billion dollars for climate finance - which is far to little for what is needed.

Bassey is critical of the UN process which in his view has brought no progress since Copenhagen in 2009. The COP26 in Glasgow represents just another failure without meaningful outcomes. There is no sign of change in course by rich countries concerning emission reductions or “loss and damage“ until now, Bassey says. If this blockade persists, poor countries should leave the climate negotiations.

Bassey demands: Oil, coal and gas must stay in the ground and wealthy states have to cut emissions in this decade. Also, developed countries have to pay reparations to the Global South to help them to transit to zero carbon. But instead of doing this they mislead people with slogans like climate neutrality, carbon markets and geo-engineering, which mean: Kicking the can down the road. Hope lies with young activists. If they take over political positions in the future, “this is going to change the situation completely”. At the end of the interview Nnimmo Bassey recites his poem „Injury Time“ that he wrote for COP26 and read to a demonstration in Glasgow.


Nnimmo Bassey is a Nigerian environmentalist and poet, director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, until 2012 chair of Friends of the Earth International and recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize. Time Magazine in 2009 named him one of the "Heroes of the Environment".