Top environmentalists question BRICS climate change inaction
None of the BRICS nations are serious about reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to the degree necessary to halt “catastrophic” climate change.
This was the contention of the four South African recipients of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, who this week sought to scrutinise the claims, processes and outcomes of the BRICS summit in Sandton in lectures and discussions at Wits University’s school of governance.
The prize recipients, Bobby Peek (1998), Thuli Makama (2010), Desmond D’sa (2014) and Makoma Lekalakala (2018) discussed the “long-overdue social, ecological, political, economic and other rights-related concerns about BRICS.
“BRICS claims its aim is to achieve security, development and co-operation: ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
“Yet we all know that all five BRICS nations are experiencing endemic corruption,” said a statement. None are serious about reducing their greenhouse emissions to the degree necessary to halt climate catastrophe. And worse, South Africa is seen as the gateway to Africa, partly because of its coal and gas which are being purchased and dug up by BRICS companies.
“The BRICS contribution to climate change from the extraction of African minerals and raw materials will further cause more disruption to our climate.”
Lekalakala, Earthlife Africa’s director, said: “BRICS countries are among the 20 global polluters of carbon dioxide. We would like to see them walk the talk on their commitment on a just transition, invest more in renewable energy and not continue with any new fossil fuel energy projects, particularly nuclear and coal.”
Earthlife Africa activists protested outside the New Development Bank offices in Sandton this week.
BRICS, Lekalakala argued, was a platform perpetuating socio-economic exploitation through the bank. “The bank started on a wrong footing through loans to Eskom and Transnet,” she said. “This is disappointing, as both Eskom and Transnet are under scrutiny for corruption and mismanagement.
“No due diligence was done on the Transnet loan. If this is how the bank operates, we have to brace ourselves for accelerated environmental degradation for the pursuit of people profit.”