Breaking Green

Offloading Climate Responsibility on the Victims of Climate Change with Nnimmo Bassey

October 17, 2022 Global Justice Ecology Project / Host Steve Taylor Season 2 Episode 10
Breaking Green
Offloading Climate Responsibility on the Victims of Climate Change with Nnimmo Bassey
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As oil dependent nations seek to shore up their supply while the war between Russia and Ukraine rages, some African Nations seem eager to provide more access to fossil fuels. This was evidenced during the September minister’s meeting in Egypt, when representatives from various African nations called on world leaders to “avoid approaches that encourage abrupt disinvestments from fossil fuels.”

But many in Africa have been fighting for justice in the face of abuses by companies that damage the environment and make the continent second only to Russia when it comes to the hazardous practice of gas flaring. 

In this episode of Breaking Green we will talk with renowned Nigerian architect , author and activist Nnimmo Bassey, about what it really means for the health of Africans and the planet when it comes to the exploitation of the so-called resource rich continent. We will also discuss the history of colonialism’s impact on Africa and how the 27th Conference of Parties, that will be held this November in Egypt, is likely to promote false solutions to climate change and refuse to deal in a meaningful way with the climate debt owed to the global south in general, and Africa in particular.

Nnimmo Bassey is a Nigerian architect, environmental activist, author and poet, who chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012 and was executive director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades. His is director of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth as well as a board member of Global Justice Ecology Project. Nnimmo Bassey was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize. In 2012 he received the Rafto Human Rights Award. He was also one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2009.

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This podcast is produced by Global Justice Ecology Project.

Listen to previous Breaking Green episodes critiquing false solutions to climate change promoted by the UN Climate COP and various corporate actors:

False Solutions to Climate Change

Carbon Colonialism and REDD

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Photo of Nnimmo Bassey by Anne Petermann/GJEP

Nnimmo Bassey  00:00
Thank you so much. My pleasure to be with you,

Steve Taylor  00:02
Mr. Bassey, what is your response to the idea that the African continent is resource rich? What does that translate into historically for the citizens of African nations? And what does that look like in terms of the environment?

Nnimmo Bassey  00:20
Well, it is a statement of fact that the African continent is resource rich, but this has been a big problem for the continent, primarily because it is resource rich Africa has been zone of plunder, zone of mindless, reckless, irresponsible extraction. And this has gone on for centuries, starting from even the colonial period, pre-colonial to colonial period. The colonial period, established the plantation extractivist mode, where lands were converted to plantation for mono cropping or for export. And then came the extraction of minerals. And almost all the conflict you trace on the continent has been related to the drive for extraction of so-called natural resources. I say so-called natural resources, because these things are there by nature, not necessarily for economic exploitation. But they are part of nature, and we need to respect them as part of nature. So yes, the quantity of resources on the continent has exposed the continent to all kinds of all sorts of speculators, and adventurers and because of the historical context, we found that the mode of extraction has been totally disrespectful of the cycles of nature of the people, the community, people who live in this environment. And in the post colonial period, I say this advisedly, because colonialism is not really over. The post colonial period still carries on with the same mode of extractivism. And this has been very, very destructive to the African environment.

Steve Taylor  02:29
In your book, To Cook a Continent, you wright, the resource conflicts in Africa have been orchestrated by history of greed, and rapacious consumption. And you say that in your book, you will connect the drive for mindless extraction to the tightening noose of odious debt repayment, and that you will demand a fresh look at the accounting books asking when environmental costs and other externalities are included, who really owes what to whom. Could you talk a bit about who really owes what to whom, specifically the climate debt that is owed to the global south in general, and the African nations in particular,

Nnimmo Bassey  03:10
There's no doubt that there is a climate debt, and indeed an ecological debt owed to the global South, and Africa in particular. That has not been recognized or accepted. And the arrogance of the exploiters, who not just consider, even talking about this matter is very, very annoying. I would say, it is extremely disrespectful. Whereas it's very clear that for centuries, the regions have been exploited in a way that is extremely harmful. Without any care about these cars, and the destruction of the environment. Now, it does become very clear that the sort of exploitation and consumption that has gone on over the years has become a big problem, not just for the regions that were exploited, but for the entire world. And this has also required the building of resilience and capacity to absorb the harms related to exploitation. Now, this requires financial inputs. But what we're seeing in the world today is the financial financialization of nature. They say very clear, clear arrangement or attempt to avoid responsibility for historical harm and current harm. Rather, the argument we're hearing is if financial value is not placed on nature, nobody's going to respect or protect nature. Now, why was no financial cost be placed on the territories that were damaged? Why were they exploited and sacrificed without any consideration, or thought about what is the value to those who live in the territory, and those who use those resources. So if we're to go the full way with this argument of putting price tags on nature, so that nature can be respected, then you have to also look at the historical harm and damage that's been done, place a price tag on it, recognize that this is a debt that is being owed, and have it paid. So clearly, there's a ecological debt that has been accumulated over the years without any kind of discussion or negotiation, but it needed reparation. Apart from this, from modern economic relationships, a region like Africa attracts about 150 billion US dollars worth of inflows for the outflows from tax evasion, tax havens, avoidance of what needs to be paid, totals 190 plus billion per year. And so if you check out the check the inflow and the outflow, we find that Africa is a creditor nation. The figures I just quoted from the World Bank, one of the most conservative institutions you can think about. So its not a figure up drawn up by activists or by campaigners. So this is a hard minimum amount, clearly showing that the continent is being owed a certain amount, and about a continent is a net creditor and not a debtor.

Steve Taylor  06:36
There's a lot of lip service given to it. But is there any real response being brought forward by international organizations or nations themselves?

Nnimmo Bassey  06:45
None. Absolutely none. In fact, the Conference of Parties is nothing much more than a carbon stock exchange. Nations go there to debate and find ways to avoid climate action, completely opposite to what it ought to be. This is why today, nations are so happy to sign up to the happy sanitary Paris Agreement, knowing that the major element in that agreement is a nationally determined contributions, which is a voluntary mechanism, that which whatever any country feels they can do, they could do it. Whatever they feel, they will not do, they don't have to do it. There's nothing madatory about it. You only have to report that is all we're doing. That is what we're going to do. And so far, we've seen that if nations do what they say they're going to do, we're on a trajectory for major, major catastrophy, because they're not cutting emissions at any level that shows any kind of understanding of the emergency, or a sense of what needs to be done. So at the Conference of Parties, I remember in 2009, at Copenhagen, there was an effort by some African delegates to bring up the issue of climate debt, or climate reparation. And one of the top leaders of the delegation from the United States clearly said, Look, we're not going to talk about any kind of historical responsibilities. So just swept it under the carpet. So again some years later, it was swept under the carpet. So when the geopolitics of the Conference of Parties is such that even though nations all have one vote each, it doesn't play out the reality? They strict very heavy disparity in the case of who holds the power. And it's not just nations who do this, but also corporations, who are the frontline of the destruction we're talking about.

Steve Taylor  08:53
And I've heard you say that climate change is actually impacting the African continent more so than other other nations and continents, and that the terms of the Paris Accord or agreement means disaster, a calamitous boiling of Africa.

Nnimmo Bassey  09:17
Absolutely. And this is why sometimes I wonder why African puts up or goes to the Conference of Parties. I've had the misfortune of going to those meetings to get a sense of what is going on. But just looking at the at the Paris Agreement itself, I think it was a very clever piece of document that set a target, a low target of 1.5 degree celsius. And then the upper target was set in a way that it's actually very intriguing, because it's set as well below two. And my logic is that if anything is well below two, it should be below 1.5. So the upper target cannot be lower than the lower target. So I think there was a big joke or humor, in those who formulated those targets. And now the world is ready at 1.1 degrees above pre industrial level. Africa has about 50% higher temperature increase than the global average. So 1.1 Already means about 1.6 1.7 for Africa. So Africa is really gone above the lower limit. And anything beyond that is going to spell disaster for the continent. We are already having warmer oceans, greater cyclones. This is moving to higher latitudes, especially along the south eastern seaboard of Africa. Africa is having it really bad. And the Conference of Parties doesn't seem to understand or even consider that this is a situation of critical emergency.

Steve Taylor  11:01
You've also talked about issues of things like food sovereignty, and the like with Africa. And then we have the REDD programs, some of these policies and proposed solutions are really affecting local communities on on the African continent.

Nnimmo Bassey  11:23
The many of the programs and platforms that are presented as climate solutions have been seen to be false solutions. And the bedrock of most of those solutions are carbon offsetting, or carbon trading. This has been a very clever mechanism for avoiding climate action, because people could mathematically prove that they are mitigating or doing something to counter the pollution that they keep on their their meeting. And so REDD was such one of such formulations. Now, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a great idea, which should be supported by everyone looking at that label. But the as I said, the devils is in the detail. Now everybody wants to reduce deforestation want to refuse reduce forest degradation. But what is the meaning in terms of climate action? It has made securing or appropriating or grabbing some forest territory, and then declaring that to be a REDD Forest. And now once that is done, what becomes paramount important is that it is no longer a forest of trees. It is now a forest of carbon, a carbon sink. So you look at the trees, you don't see them as ecosystems. You don't live see them as living communities, we're seeing them as carbon stock. And that immediately sets a different kind of relationship between those who are living in the forest, those who need the forest, and those who are now the owners of the forest. And so it's because of that logic that communities in Africa, some communities have lost access to their forests, or lost access to the use of their forests, the way they'd be using for centuries. People like in Ghana, in Kenya, communities in Uganda, even communities in Nigeria. Who have used their own forests, managed their forests by themselves very effectively for years. And now once the forest are recognized as Red Forest, the whole equation changes. In Mozambique there was a project that a company that bought up a chunk of forest and then paid the community people about $100 a year to look after the trees for 90 years. Now that that was heard of us real carbon colonialism or carbon slavery. Eventually, that that kind of atrocious agreement was struck down. And so you could have this going on and on and on. And the sad thing, which is hardly recognized that REDD does not stop deforestation, because you have one forest designated as a REDD Forest, and the other forest close to it is not a REDD Forest. So it's not protected at the same level as the one that is a REDD Forest. So you don't allow loggers into the REDD forest, but they can go into the other forests. So logging continues and you just protected some trees in one place. Whereas the same amount of trees that were to be cut here are being cut elsewhere. And then REDD also recognizes plantations as forest. And that to me sounds as crazy. A plantation no matter how many trees you plant in it, you call it, maybe plant 1 million eucalyptus tree, you want a one particular place, it's not a forest, it's just a collection of the same species. A forest is a location where you have multiple species, a really, really, really living ecosystem that have a lot of value to everyone.

Steve Taylor  15:31
Listening to you, it was coming to my mind that as you have written a lot about the exploitation of the African continent, with with colonization, that this, these nature based solutions almost seem like an extension of that exploitation. But it's just really a bookkeeping rationalization to allow richer, or so called richer nations, or those responsible for the pollution, let's say, to continue polluting?

Nnimmo Bassey  16:03
That's exactly what it is. I think that the narrative has been so cleverly constructed that when you hear, for example, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, everybody says, yes, we want to do that. And now we're heading to nature based solution. Who doesn't want nature best solution? These are ideas that were brought up the way indigenous communities have lived with the environment. You've seen, following nature, walking with nature, respecting nature, nature provided the solution to the challenges they've had for centuries for millennia. And now, some clever people now adopt some apparently same terminology. So that by the time indigenous communities say we want nature based solution, they will say, well, that's what we're talking about. Whereas they're not talking about that at all. This, we've seen this over and over again. The green economy, you have a green economy, oh, this is really beautiful. The color green is life. It's beautiful. And the green economy means something completely contrary to what one would think it meant. And now we have a sort of blue economy. Blue is a lovely color. It's a blue economy, so you're gonna  partition the oceans and the rivers, and have deep sea mining, have all kinds of all kinds of activities going on there, exclude artisanal fishers and communities who depend on the oceans. And then you get to everything's about generating value chains or revenue, completely forgetting about who we are as part of nature. So, the entire scheme has been one insult after another. And indigenous people have to continuously depend on their wisdom and vision and cosmology, denounced the appropriation of this times, that tend to cause confusion, and create more problems in the world. The very idea of putting a price on the on the services of Mother Earth, and claiming and now appropriating those, the financial capital, from, from those resources from from this process processes is, is, is another another very horrible, horrible way by which people are being exploited. 

Steve Taylor  18:29
I don't remember which book it was Mr. Bassey, but in one you, you talked about what has been done to Africa. And I remember, maybe it was in a foreword to one of the books you talked about how Africa in the beginning was seen as just a coastline, because people hadn't gone inland, and that inland there were great nations flourishing, in balance with with nature. So now, you know, we have this problem created by these nations, which are emitting so much carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, and they are again, seeking some sort of solution that that weighs heavily on on this continent.

Nnimmo Bassey  19:14
I think, the nice way to sum it up  because, you know, Africa sits right at the center of the world, surrounded totally by water. So you can go to the continent from anywhere from any direction, especially with the Suez Canal. So you can take a boat and ride around the entire continent. So the continent is so vulnerable to exploitation. And today, virtually all the major infrastructure on the continent all head to the seaport for export. Because the usefulness of Africa is also a storehouse for nature's resources, big gifts of nature. So that that continues.  So before the clash with Imperial adventurers, especially from Europe, or from elsewhere, they were very viable, empires and kingdoms across the African continent, with very deep and very democratic systems of collective leadership. Even when they were kings. There were structures that were excellent, maybe more democratic than what we have today. And in a place like the Benin kingdom, I live in Benin City. In the Benin Kingdom, when the first Europeans got there they were amazed with what they saw - the artistic creativity of the people in metal casting, especially in bronz casting. Some of those artifacts were stolen and taken to Europe. And discussions are only being made now about returning some of them. They are amazing, amazing quality of what was done so many hundreds of years ago. Eventually they found that the streets were so well laid out street with streetlights. And people did not need to lock their homes to have doors in their home because stealing and antisocial behavior, we're just not known. So we had a system where people live so close to nature, had mutual respect to each other with one another. And this is what was cut was captured in the African philosophy of Ubuntu, of seeing the next person's humanity as being part of who you are. So you were not apart from your neighbor, as you are a part of nature. In my culture, we call it Eti Uwem, which means a good life almost like what in North America is called, Buen Vivir, good life living where Iiving is not about accumulation. It's not about competition. It's not about power. It's about living in harmony with your neighbor, and with nature. This is what Africa has been known for, was known for. And I think this is the gift that the continent has for the future of humanity. If we think we want to stay on this planet, that can well do without us.

Steve Taylor  19:33
Thank you for that. I've heard you say that complex problems have simple solutions. I'm paraphrasing, possibly. But I've heard that. So we've been talking about the problem of climate change. We've talked about what the North wants to do with its bookkeeping and its offsets, and its so called nature based solutions. I mean, this would appear to be a complex problem. But maybe there's a simple solution. Could Could you talk to us about what that looks like? And I'm suspecting that possibly it might be harder for for for the North to accept?

Nnimmo Bassey  22:27
Absolutely, yes. Right. Simple solutions are avoided in today's world because they don't support capital. And capital is ruling the world. Capitalism, the market is ruling everything. Life is simpler than people think. So the complex problems we have today, they're all man made, human made by human's love of complexities. And so we having all kinds of imaginative ways of exploiting one another. Fictions built into empires and all kinds of things. You know, the very idea of money itself, is, is something that just comes from the imagination, because I think this is developing so quickly today that you don't need to ever see printed currencies. You just wave your card at a machine and you can make purchases, because it's all about the idea and not the reality. But the idea of capital accumulation has led to massive, massive losses, a massive destruction and has led the world to the brink, especially as seen in the massive biodiversity loss, and the various extinctions that we're seeing around us. and now climate change is creating what we are seeing around us, with freak storms, tornadoes, cyclones, typhoons with wildfires, in all kinds of places, floods everywhere, so that there's no part of the world that doesn't recognize that something has gone wrong. But what needs to be done? That is what the world is yet to wake up to. Now we've been hearing talks defining that the carbon budget is almost gone. I believe that the carbon budget is gone. We're living in overdraft right now, completely derailed. So we don't have time to debate about what needs to be done tomorrow, or what needs to be done in 2050, or 2060. As we saw, as we're seeing in the Conference of Party discussions, labeled as net zero. Now, the simple solution that we need, if we're talking about warming, so leave the carbon in the ground, leave the oil in the soil, leave the coal in the hole. Just as simple as that. And don't call gas a, a transition gas, because it's not, it's just as bad as any other fossil fuels. If we were really truthful to ourselves about the fact that this is what needs to be done, we would, we would focus on encouraging ourselves to use our imagination, to develop new concepts of energy, redefine what you need to do, redefine how we need to live and work towards that. But it does appear that that humans don't want to don't want any inconvenience at all. We are ready to wait for the cataclysm to happen. We're ready to have the unthinkable happened, rather than to plan and behave in a way that will inconvenciencing for a moment, but in the long run, helpful to everyone. And so we talk about carbon offsets. I don't pollute enough, so I can get carbon credits, and someone else who pollutes too much can pay me to take up the space that I'm not polluting into, and then we balance it out and say this is net zero, or we ahieve zero. But when people leave the fossils in the ground, they are seen as anti progress and anti development. Whereas these are the real climate champions. People like the Ogoni people. The Ogoni people in the Niger Delta, the territory from where Ken Saro-Wiwa from, who was murdered by the Nigerian State in 1995 - now the Ogoni people from 1993, have kept the oil in their territory in the ground. That is millions upon millions of carbon locked up in the ground. That is climate action. That is real carbon sequestration, not polluting and capturing carbon, and not putting mirrors in the sky to reflect more radiation back into space, and not planting genetically engineering trees to absorb more carbon. So the simple solutions remain the best way forward for humanity. And the sooner we wake up to it better for us,

Steve Taylor  27:51
I have heard you mentioned how fossil fuels are finite anyway, it's a finite resource. And we have this idea of material growth, and also the notion of a developing nation. So the notion of a developing nation in the world of finite resources, what does it really mean? And does that make sense?

Nnimmo Bassey  28:15
Developing nations, in a finite world? That's a nice way to put that question. If you look at it deeply, the question is, what is development? And that is the way I like to tackle that kind of question. And this where we make the mistake when we don't define development. We have to define development as something that is not necessarily universal. We could say ok, just to define what where do we want to go? Where do we want to get to? If all of us want to be like, let's say, want all our cities to be like New York City, for example. Now, how much resources do we need? How much minerals do we have to dig up? How many forests are we going to cut down? Where would all the resources come from to replicate that all over the world? And the answer is that, it is simply impossible to do. So today, we have to see some of what has been called development that's actually mal development.  So this cancer looks so beautiful, its colored beautifully. I want to have that. We have to realize that this thing that has led us into this major crisis needs to be redefined. So that we can think in a different way and live in harmony with nature.

Steve Taylor  29:49
Mr. Bossy in researching your work, it was clear to me that you often don't speak about your personal history. But I have seen it noted that your primary education was in interrupted with war. And that you said that you saw many dead bodies when you were young, you also have taken direct aim at what you have termed the petro military complex. Would you mind talking about what type of human toll you have seen when it comes to corporate or state sanctioned violence in the interest of resource extraction.

Nnimmo Bassey  30:27
This is this is something that is very painful. And it's also very visible. When you refer to my early years as a child, the civil war in Nigeria was not only driven by my ethnic nations trying to be superior to the other, it was also a fight about oil, or who controls the oil. And this is what has even today distorted the political equation in Nigeria, and in many places. Western dictators built on, on the dream of sitting on Petro dollars. We see nations destroyed. I mean, the destruction that we see in the Middle East, like in Iraq, what we saw in Iran, what we saw in North Africa, in Libya, for example, can also be traced to the need to control the result, in the midst of the war. There's something something to be said about that. Even in climate change, discussion, the emission from military equipment, military aircraft, and ships and so on, they're not computed as part of when they counted the molecules that are covering the atmosphere, which means that there's a big hole hole even in those mathematical discussions. And, yeah, we've seen, also the way as you mentioned, at the beginning of this conversation, the way the war in Ukraine is also affecting, shifting attention to Africa to get resources, gas, or oil from world heritage location that nobody should think of going to extract anything from. And so the power of the fossil fuel industry had been such that human rights take backstage when it comes to access getting access for for this resource. Just last week, a few days ago, there were protests on the streets of Kampala, Uganda, protests against the European Union's assessment that the East African gas could or pipeline would would infringe on human rights and should be suspended for one year to re examine the environmental assessment. Now that that protests was applauded by the government of Uganda. Now, a few days later, some university students protested, went also on a protest march in support of the assessment of European Union calling for reassessment of that pipeline. And as we speak, nine of those students are in detention, are in prison - just a few days apart. So, when supporting exploitation of fossil fuel resources, everything else is suspended including common sense,

Steve Taylor  33:49
could you talk a bit about what is gas flaring and how much of it is happening on the African continent and what that means to communities living nearby?

Nnimmo Bassey  34:02
Yeah, gas flaring, simply put is the setting gas on fire the oil fields, because when crude oil is extracted in some locations, it could all comes out of the ground with natural gas and with water and other chemicals. So the companies or the flow station separate the crude oil - spray the gas from the crude oil and separate also the water that came out with this in the process. Now, the gas that comes out of the well with the oil can be easily re injected into the well. And that is almost like carbon capture and storage. It goes into the well also helps to push out more oil from the well. So you have more carbon released to the atmosphere. So you could do that, and all oil companies do that. They have been doing that for many years. It's only now Um, that that's been classified as geoengineering for climate change conversations. And so, secondly, the gas can be collected and utilized for industrial purposes or for cooking, you know, or processed for liquefied natural gas. Or the gas could just be set on fire. And that's what we have, at many points, over 100, and probably over 120 locations in the Niger Delta. So you have these giant furnaces. So they pump tons of smoke, black carbon into the atmosphere, they pump, terrible a cocktail cocktail of dangerous elements into the atmosphere, all sometimes in the middle of the communities, and sometimes horizontally, not vertical stacks. So it really poisons the environment, poisons the soil, the water, the air. And because of the elements in the gas flares, we have high incidence of cancers, blood disorders, of bronchitis have asthma of skin diseases of acid rain, which corrodes the roof and infrastructure in the area. So you have birth defects, all kinds of disease imaginable, caused by gas flaring. It also reduces agricultural productivity, up to one kilometer from massively up to one kilometer from the location of the of the furnace. So it's something that is also clearly illegal in Nigeria. It's a law that came into effect in 1984. Make gas flaring illegal, but the law also left a loophole that the companies can flare if they have a permit from the minister. And if they pay a fine, and they finally just a tiny fraction of the value of the gas. So companies can pay the fine, they don't even pay the fines. I keep on flaring. And they've been doing this. Now the communities are protesting against this. In 2005, one community actually sued Shell and Nigerian government in the High Court in Benin City, Nigeria. And the Court ruled in November 2005, that gas flaring is against the right to life of the people in the communities. And it should be stopped. And Shell was asked to produce the plan of how they were going to stop flooding gas in that community quickly. This was 2005. It was only in 2017 or thereabout, that they went to file an appeal against that judgment. I mean, I'm not a lawyer, but I think it's atrocious to file an appeal against a judgment after more than a decade when the judgment had been delivered. And it was only in 2022 that the first hearing of the appeal took place. So communities are still campaigning against this. Nowadays, companies like Shell ExxonMobil are For example, in the US, public institutions, universities and so on, pulling their money out of fossil fuel. Now, first of all companies are the one divesting in Nigeria, what this means is the selling of their facilities, to Nigerian companies, and taking the profit, taking the money, leaving the responsibility of 64 years of pollution, of massive destruction on ecosystems and they are moving of offshore or leaving the country completely. Now, clearly, they appear to divest or leave, but the people that the companies are handing over must be in their payroll, possibly, and then going offshore, far into deep water. They know that when they get into deeper waters, there going to be less regulatory oversight. Communities would only see the spill when it washes onshore. Fishermen will have more human rights abuses when they try to fish anywhere near those facilities, as they face today already. And companies will be totally  unaccountable for what they do offshore. If you hear about the level of all theft going on in our data today, and the level of pollution, there is almost like what we see cowboy movies, you know, Wild Wild Niger Delta. We have just heard of a case about the government just discovering a four kilometers long pipeline going from an onshore location offshore. A four kilometers long pipeline illegally constructed into the ocean and pumping oil for nine solid years before it was discovered. That doesn't seem like something accidental, or something well hidden is clearly a massive mafia that is benefiting from industrial dispoilation of the Niger Delta. And they want to replicate this across the continent, in Okavango in Uganda, in Ghana, in Senegal, everywhere - in Virunga Park in Congo. So it's not stopping. The world says we have to move from fossil fuel. But we're seeing more investment in that sector at a time when the wells should be closed down.

Steve Taylor  40:51
So you worked early on in your career, trying to address a lot of the issues of gas flaring. And that was a dangerous undertaking. I mean, for people, yourself and others that you know, and knew. That was not an easy task. That was a dangerous one.

Nnimmo Bassey  41:12
That was. It is still a dangerous thing today. The gas flares are not location that you can just go pick up your camera and take photos. You have to be taken by the military. The same with when there is an oil blue oil well blue outdoor oil spill, you will not you are not you can easily gain access to those locations. So security forces and oil companies protect the pollution, rather than protecting the environment or the people. Still very dangerous as we speak.

Steve Taylor  41:49
One final question. I wanted to discuss the future COP coming up in Egypt. Do you have any hopes given the history of these COPS? One Are you going to participate? Two, is there any hope for some real change here?

Nnimmo Bassey  42:07
The only hope I see with the COP is the hope of what people can do outside the cop. The mobilizations that the cops instigate on generate in meetings across the world talking about climate change, people take real action, indigenous groups organizing and choosing different kinds of different methods of agriculture that helps cool the planet. People just doing what they can. That to me is what holds hope. The COP itself is a rigged process that works in a very colonial manner off-loading climate responsibility on the victims of climate change.

Steve Taylor  42:50
Well, thank you, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, for joining us on breaking green.

Nnimmo Bassey  42:56
Thank you very much for having this conversation with me.

Breaking Green Introduction
Episode Introduction
What does it mean historically that Africa is seen as resource rich?
What is owed to Africa?
Are nations recognizing climate debt?
Calamitous Boiling of Africa
False Solutions, REDD and Food Sovereignity
Nature-Based Solutions and Colonialism
Living in Balance with Nature
Simple Solutions
The False Idea of Developing Nations
The Human Toll of Corporate Sanctioned Violence
Gas Flaring
Dangerous Work
COP 27 a Colonial Process
Outro