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December 5, 2023

Fossil fuels haven’t even succeeded in meeting the energy needs of the world’s poor while leaving them to suffer all the harm caused by climate change, ActionAid says.

Emissions from the fossil fuel industry have unfairly and unjustly harmed most of the world’s poor communities through loss and damage caused by floods, droughts, and cyclones, ActionAid says. Communities in oil-rich but energy-poor Nigeria know this reality all too well. Fossil fuel exploration in the Niger Delta has also left them dealing with the health and environmental destruction caused by gas flaring and water pollution, even as the oil is carted away to Global North countries.

Alice Goldsmith, a community leader in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, who is featured in a new film by ActionAid, said:

“Gas flares are an oppression to this community. This community will never grow anything again. Something needs to be done about it.”

Blessing Ifemenam, a Program Advisor at ActionAid Nigeria, said:

“In Nigeria, oil is a curse. Its extraction has destroyed the livelihoods of entire communities, who are now unable to farm crops or fish. Their health has been affected by drinking contaminated water and by the heat from the flares. This evil must be stopped.”

ActionAid says, at COP28, countries must agree to phase out fossil fuels and embrace a just and equitable transition to renewables. Rich historical polluters must show leadership by shifting to renewables and offering financial and technical support to poor countries to make the shift.

Teresa Anderson, Global Climate Justice Lead at ActionAid International, said:

“Science has shown we’re living on borrowed time. The only way out of this hole we have dug ourselves into is to phase out fossil fuels fast, fair and forever. It’s time to scale up renewables to address the energy needs of people and solve the climate crisis at the same time.

We can’t just announce targets for lower-income countries and not provide the money to make it happen. Global targets need to be ambitious, and they need to be financed, if they are to be worth more than the paper they’re written on.

Furthermore, using carbon capture and storage to ‘abate’ your fossil fuels is like covering up your sweat-stained blouse with a blazer in the heat of COP28. It briefly covers up the problem while actually making it worse.”


For media requests, please email or call 704 665 9743.

Teresa Anderson and Blessing Ifemenam are at COP28 and available for media interviews.

About ActionAid   

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.