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Climate catastrophe: emissions of the richest burn the planet

Oxfam, an international charitable NGO, has reported recently in “Inequality Kills” ahead of the World Economic forum Davos agenda that; a new billionaire has been created every 26 hours since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The world’s 10 richest men have correspondingly doubled their fortunes, while over 160 million people are projected to have been pushed into poverty. Meanwhile, an estimated 17 million people have died from COVID-19, a scale of loss not seen since the Second World War.

The “Inequality Kills” briefing regards extreme inequality as a form of “economic violence”, where structural and systemic policies and political choices are skewed in favour of the richest and most powerful people which results in direct harm to the vast majority of ordinary people worldwide.

At a conservative estimate, the report discloses that; “231,000 people each year could be killed by the climate crisis in poor countries by 2030.Millions could die in the second half of this century.

One study estimates that the greenhouse gases emitted by 273 Americans in 2020 will kill one person during the rest of this century through heat waves alone. Meanwhile, the emissions of the richest people are driving this crisis, with the CO2 emissions of 20 of the richest billionaires estimated on average to be 8,000 times that of the billion poorest people.”

It continues that; “we estimate that inequality is now contributing to the deaths of at least 21,300 people each day-or one person every four seconds. This is a highly conservative estimate for deaths resulting from hunger in a world of plenty, the denial of access to quality healthcare in poor countries, and gender-based violence faced by women and rooted in patriarchy. We also provide estimates for the deaths resulting from climate breakdown in poor countries.

Inequality between nations, and within nations, is also deadly for the future of our world. We all suffer from a heating planet when rich countries fail to address the effects of their responsibility for an estimated 92% of all excess historic emissions. We all lose out as a result of the over-consumption by the richest people that is driving today’s climate crisis, with the emissions of the top 1% double that of the bottom 50% of humanity combined.”

Despite the 2021 COP26 climate negotiations and heedless of the wishes of those countries most affected by climate breakdown, and the voices of Indigenous communities and young people in particular the leaders of rich countries, above all, are still failing to prevent further planetary destruction or to ensure sufficient protections against human suffering that will become worse as temperatures continue to rise.

This failure to act is a historic and present-day act of violence, and a direct result of our unequal and carbon-fuelled economic model. Vital to addressing the climate crisis is recognizing the inequalities that perpetuate it.

The report points a finger at rich countries, disclosing that they are responsible for an estimated 92% of all excess historic emissions, far above their fair share of CO2 emissions. There is also significant inequality between countries in access to knowledge and technologies that are vital to both adapting to climate breakdown, and reducing and preventing greenhouse gas emissions. For example, rich countries, on behalf of their domestic companies, have filed complaints with the WTO as low- and middle income countries have encouraged the growth of their renewable energy industries.

The report gives the example that; the damage a person does to the climate increases with their level of wealth. Based on consumption data estimates, Roman Abramovich, a Russian-Israeli billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club whose assets include a superyacht and a custom-designed Boeing, is responsible for at least 33,859 tonnes of CO2 emissions consumption in a year.

It would take the average person over 7,000 years to use the same amount. While the richest people are able to afford greater protection against the worst impacts of the climate crisis, some billionaires have reportedly bought bunkers to prepare for worst-case scenarios, it is the poorest people who have contributed least to this crisis who suffer the most.

Many of them face losing their homes and livelihoods, as they live in areas more vulnerable to extreme weather; in the wake of disasters, they hold the least in assets and have the least access to help. Women living in poverty are disproportionately affected: for example, women are more exposed to the risk of gender-based violence as they are forced to walk further to find water.

Women, especially the poorest women, are also forced to take on more unpaid care work to support members of their families and communities whose health has been compromised by increased pollution and heat waves associated with the climate crisis.

Surviving the climate crisis? OxFam calls for urgent funding for adaptation, loss and damage, and a fossil fuel-free world. “Climate adaptation is a matter of life and death for communities facing the harshest impacts of the climate crisis. An increase in funding by rich countries to at least $50bn a year for climate adaptation between now and 2025 is urgently needed for communities in low- and middle income countries, with needs rising further to $140–300bn by 2030.”

Funding by rich countries is also required to meet an urgent need for addressing loss and damage when adaptation is no longer possible, as poor communities and climate vulnerable countries are already experiencing the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

The financing requirements for loss and damage in low- and middle-income countries may reach $200–580bn a year by 2030.  And tackling the impacts of the immediate crisis is not enough on its own; investment is needed for the transition to a fossil fuel-free economy that is powered by clean energy. Rich countries also need to make good on their promise to provide $100bn a year from 2020 in climate finance for low- and middle-income countries, including to support the transition to clean energy.


Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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