Justica Ambiental together with Friends of the Earth Mozambique welcomed delegates from across the African continent and other parts of the world as they hosted the 2nd Climate Justice Conference in Maputo on the 31st August -2nd September 2016 under the banner of Seeding Climate Justice II.

Congregated at a peaceful resort in the heart of Maputo were over 50 community and civil society members from Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and India. The conference proved that finding alignment  on how we combat the climate crises in the African continent is  vital and must go on until we have won the good the fight.

Various topics such as, framing the coal debate, linking gender and extractives, all of which are key topics were covered yet certain conversations could not be overlooked.

The Paris Agreement- an agreement of convenience Globally we are far from reaching the commitments made in the agreement.  Simply because the agreement is not legally binding and political will for real climate action is lacking.  None of the parties that have signed on are in any way accountable to terms and conditions. Countries have committed to reducing, without consequences. It’s based on what a country volunteers to do with no basis in science.  It needs to be understood as a weak political agreement.   The agreement protects national interest over global climate needs, proving that industries and corporations have power over governments.  

2016 has been the year where weather records have been broken. The hottest year, floods, droughts, all these climate events of intense magnitudes have been worsened by the worlds addiction to fossil fuels. World wide, unpredictable weather patterns are affecting livelihoods and agriculture.  At the same time,  climate science is clear,  we’re facing a real planetary crises and impacts will be more severe than ever imagined.  

Average global temperatures must be kept to below 1.5 anything beyond this will be a global catastrophe. The climate will hit a tipping point, accelerating droughts, floods and hurricanes that have been recorded. What we need is a moral imperative to address climate impacts.

As we prepare and watch international nations gear up of the COP22 in Marrakech – we must remember that no Conference Of the Parties will ever bring out the necessary change the world requires. Though the process aims to  assess climate issues, creating a space where countries can commit to reducing greenhouse emissions, the entire process is flawed.  Civil society, impacted communities, women, small scale farmers, are not at the centre of decisions making.  The process is currently hijacked by politicians with vested interests in propping up the fossil fuel industry.  

Climate justice is about solving problems without creating more problems for the poor and most vulnerable. It should not be viewed as anti development or anti nationalist but rather a global movement committed to bringing solutions for all.  Climate change is caused by a dysfunctional system and these deep systemic problems must be addressed.  The disparities continue to be evident. Civil society has the capacity to investigate development plans as a majority of these will indebt the continent for years to come. This is a matter of survival.   

Real solutions include mass education in order for people to understand bona fide problems.  Africa need not rehash historical wounds but must focus on the future and actions needed to change our narrative.  We must connect our struggles and strengthen our regional  movements.  We must know and understand each other as well as our struggles, in order to take charge and change these false narratives being perpetuated on the global stage.  Africa must build bridges, instigate, support local resistance and be responsive.  We must keep expanding our networks and work across all sectors, including the faith institutions, labour, agriculture especially the small scale farmers in order to ensure Africa survives and remains habitable for all of us.  We believe a world not damaged by climate change is possible, there are solutions that can only be fostered from the ground up.  

Countries that vow to and practically “keep it in the ground” must be applauded. We must decentralise the ownership of the energy sector.  We must not support the building of mega unnecessary infrastructures such as mega hydro dams.  These are false solutions.  We must strengthen the moral call to break free from addictive fossil fuels.   Developed countries have used up their fair share.  Within 15 years, our realities will be severely altered if the Paris agreement is not enforced.

African heads of states must demonstrate strong leadership and guide the way to reaching the Paris agreement.  The objective should be to systematically rethink the continents relationship between energy and much needed development. The agreement must support Africa’s financial needs in order  for us to rapidly respond to the looming climate crisis.

We only have one planet and one planet to save.   International solidarity is required for this fight. Governments must commit to supporting civil society as they mobilise communities, inform and educate the masses on the hidden war on climate change.    The role of education cannot be undermined.  Formal and informal sectors, civil society at large need to expand so as to reach the vulnerable and grassroots communities who are often left behind. We need to start finding ways to live in harmony with mother nature. We must build movements that are true allies to people on the ground.  The impossible is possible.  Aluta!