Canada’s flag flutters over crude oil exploration in the Namibia, Botswana Kavango Basin

The fossil gas trade isn’t solely accountable for the polluting merchandise that exacerbate local weather change but in addition for destroying ecosystems of their seek for and extraction of oil and fuel. That is what is occurring within the Kavango area in northern Namibia, residence to a lot of Africa’s wild elephants and different life.

In the Namibian headwaters of the Okavango Delta, a Unesco World Heritage website, the nation’s flag flutters beneath Canada’s, flying above a brand new properly. This violation of the Namibian Constitution — which requires that the nationwide flag ought to be “hoisted first” and “flown on separate staffs” when flown with different nations’ flags — is a logo of neocolonialism, embodied additional by a rig standing within the midst of an impressive panorama, wealthy in biodiversity and a refuge for the wildlife and other people alike, their residence for millennia.

The Canadian flag marks the land the place Canadian oil and fuel firm ReconAfrica, which holds a petroleum exploration licence in an space extending over 21 243 sq. kilometres in Namibia and Botswana, is working.

Residents and environmental teams level out that the extraction the corporate hopes for will symbolize a sixth of the world’s remaining carbon funds when these merchandise are lastly used. The potential oil and fuel lie beneath wild and delightful land that’s essential for offering hundreds of thousands of individuals with ingesting water, and can also be residence to wildlife that’s essential for the survival of worldwide biodiversity.

Fossil gas drilling within the area poses a risk to the local weather and world makes an attempt being made by environmental teams and leaders to cease world biodiversity loss. The Kavango Basin is residence to a various and wealthy array of wildlife and covers migratory routes for the world’s largest herd of savanna elephants, that are threatened by ReconAfrica’s actions within the basin. Cheetahs, rhinos and different endangered species within the area are additionally at risk because of this exploration.

Furthermore, exploration by ReconAfrica threatens to displace the San and Kavango individuals, jeopardises the ingesting water for greater than 1,000,000 individuals who name the Kavango Basin their residence, and threatens the area’s main sources of revenue from tourism, farming and fishing. 

This drilling by the corporate clearly breaches the rights and clauses outlined within the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, of which ReconAfrica’s residence nation, Canada, is a signatory and has supposedly dedicated itself to honour.

Should the undertaking pull forward, a carbon bomb hangs over humanity’s head. The firm’s personal projections of 120 billion barrels of oil equal translate into 51.6 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide. To put this into perspective, one single metric gigaton is the same as 200 000 elephants that may be stacked to achieve from the Earth to the moon. ReconAfrica’s shortsighted fossil gas bid makes a laughing inventory of makes an attempt to restrict world heating to 1.5 levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges, as outlined by the Paris settlement.

Namibia’s minister of mines and power, Tom Alweendo, is conscious of the area’s vulnerability however nonetheless views the undertaking as a income for his nation. But new world oil demand eventualities that take note of local weather insurance policies reminiscent of zero-emissions autos imply that this undertaking will in all probability create vital stranded belongings and unfunded cleanup, which can undermine Namibia’s and Botswana’s public revenues. In spite of the socio-environmental harms and financial dangers, the Namibian authorities is defending the undertaking and making an attempt to discredit native local weather youth activists by means of racist assaults and makes an attempt to intimidate native opposition.

On the Canadian aspect, the Trudeau authorities is popping a blind eye to the undertaking whereas claiming Canada is a local weather champion. In April 2021, at US President Joe Biden’s digital local weather summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed, “Canada is a committed partner in the global fight against climate change, and together we will build a cleaner and more prosperous future for all.” 

In observe, the Canadian authorities has not undertaken any concrete motion to stop ReconAfrica from contributing to the local weather disaster. The firm is working with  impunity in a area of the Global South regardless of obligations beneath worldwide human rights regulation requiring Canada to guard populations from human rights abuses perpetrated by their very own corporations.

It is time for Canadian officers to do every thing of their energy to make sure a federal investigation concerning ReconAfrica’s actions and present their dedication to preventing local weather change and to cease oil and fuel plans from going forward within the Kavango Basin. 

This means barring finance to ReconAfrica from Export Development Canada, empowering the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, which has the independence and the ability to research human rights abuse allegations, and upholding Canada’s worldwide human rights regulation obligations by passing laws requiring Canadian corporations to stop human rights abuses overseas, and to undertake complete human rights and environmental due diligence all through their world operations.

The Dutch court docket’s current ruling holding Royal Dutch Shell accountable for its actions demonstrates how it’s doable to carry oil corporations accountable wherever they function. For the primary time, an organization has been obliged to reply for its actions in gentle of the local weather disaster. 

With this court docket order, a precedent has been set by way of multinationals’ responsibility of care, and this follows the International Energy Agency’s  first 1.5 levels Celsius-aligned power situation declaring there isn’t any room for brand new fossil gas funding. This exhibits the potential energy of laws in defending the world, fueling the marketing campaign to make ecocide against the law and guaranteeing the arrest and prosecution of those that are enabling, funding and inflicting extreme environmental hurt.

To help international locations reminiscent of Namibia, worldwide cooperation based mostly on ideas of fairness is essential to make sure a simply transition. Calls for initiatives such because the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty could possibly be useful not solely to demand the tip of the growth of fossil fuels but in addition to outline the position rich nations within the Global North, like Canada, ought to play to help international locations within the Global South of their bid to construct steady economies whereas transitioning away from fossil fuels. 

A Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would additionally assist fulfil calls for outlined within the communiqué of the 2020 Africa Energy Leaders Summit and push rich international locations to place an finish to fossil gas growth, part out current manufacturing and safe a good and simply transition that may empower all people to reside with dignity whereas preserving valuable ecosystems, of which we’re all an integral half.

This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a undertaking of the Independent Media Institute

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