African climate summit in DRC to keep the pressure on rich nations


Environment ministers from 50 countries will gather in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday for a "pre-Cop27" climate summit, with rich nations likely to come under pressure to raise spending to combat climate change.

The talks in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, will be informal but are intended to allow various countries and climate action groups to take stock of political positions ahead of Cop27 -- the United Nations climate gathering of world leaders -- which takes place in Egypt next month.

The African talks will take place in the Congolese parliament building in Kinshasa, and will be followed by discussions on mitigating climate change, and providing funding for countries already damaged by global warming and severe weather events.

Delegates from 50 countries are expected to attend, including United States climate envoy John Kerry.

Make the worst polluters pay

"The emphasis will certainly be on support from industrialised countries to countries in the south," a Western diplomat stressed.

The last UN climate summit, Cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, reaffirmed the goal -- agreed in Paris in 2015 -- of limiting the rise in the Earth's average temperature to well below 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C.

The Earth's temperature is already 1.2C higher than before the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.

Poorer countries had pushed at Glasgow for a financial mechanism to address losses and damage caused by climate change.

But wealthier nations -- the most serious polluters -- rejected the call.

Climate contradictions

Egypt, which is hosting Cop27, has made implementing the pledge to curb global warming the priority of the November summit.

Poorer countries will again remind their richer counterparts of the need to increase financial support.

The Congolese government is expected to repeat the message that it requires funding to protect the nation's vast rainforests, which act as a carbon sink.

Around 30 billion tonnes of carbon, roughly equivalent to three years of global emissions, are stored across the Congo Basin.

However, the DRC in July launched an auction for 30 oil and gas blocs, ignoring warnings from environmentalists that exploiting them could harm ecosystems and release vast amounts of greenhouse gases.

The DRC authorities argue that exploiting oil and gas reserves will diversify the economy and benefit the Congolese people.