Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, has criticized authorities for failing to keep their commitments on climate action, and claimed they lacked the political will to do so.
Speaking at COP27 during a discussion on an update to the Glasgow promise to halt public fossil finance in 2022, Nakate expressed her fury at political leaders’ insensitivity while people are already dying as a result of climate inaction.
“Fossil fuel companies are making 2 trillion dollars in windfall profits this year and we can not find funds to help people who live in the small island states which are being swallowed by rising seas, or the people who are now facing starvation across the horn of Africa,” Nakate said.
“Does this outrage you? It outrages me. Do not tell me there is no money for a loss and damage fund, there is money, what we lack is political will.”
The Ugandan activist attacked Sweden’s climate minister, who suggested days ago at the ongoing COP27 that the world should not create a new fund.
Last year, at the COP26 in Glasgow, at least 39 countries and organisations vowed not to finance fossil fuels by the end of 2022, but this did not happen since only half of the signatories with important international finance have followed through on their pledges. This, according to Nakate, irritates her.
“Germany, Italy, Canada and the United States have yet to (take action on their pledges) and risk breaking their promises. Germany is planning to make a dash for gas and invest in new fossil fuel development in Senegal, this outrages me,” Nakate said in her speech.
She stated that despite nearly three decades of people talking and making many pledges and obligations, investment in fossil fuel pollution continues to rise, with the poor paying the price.
“We know many of the things we need to do to avoid the worst effects of the climate disaster,” she added, “but there are some very strong people here at COP who do not want that to happen.”
At least 636 fossil fuel lobbyists attended COP27, according to Nakate, turning what should have been a conversation about transitioning to cleaner energy into a “marketing convention for oil and gas.”