Consider climate issues, environmentalists tell guber candidates in Rivers
As politicking in Rivers state thickens, environmentalists have urged all gubernatorial candidates of political parties in the state to put the issue of climate justice into consideration amidst their lofty promises while canvassing for votes.
The group known as Lekeh Development Foundation, said aside from the normal conventional aspect of life politicians’ harp as interests, critical areas such as the environment, especially issues of climate justice have not been on the front burner.
Executive Director of the group, Friday Nbani, told The Guardian that they would rally support for candidates that have robust framework for climate change in the state and Niger Delta.
Nbani noted that as a form of commitment by the candidates, policies on the environment should be set aside for eventual legislation and enactment.
According to him: “As a non-profit making organisation that cares for the environment, that promotes climate justice and cares for the livelihood of women and young people, we felt it is good we organise a campaign dubbed vote for climate.
“This is an idea we started just to demand from most candidates to tell us their plan for the environment, especially the climate.
“This year, there will be a general election. And political parties are canvassing for support from community to community and nobody is speaking about the environment.
“So, we are looking out for candidates and demanding candidates that will represent climate justice,” he said.
He noted that the environment is a critical aspect of human lives that does not need to be underrated, emphasising that it should not be underrepresented.
He further stated that candidates should make a clear roadmap for just transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
“We need to ask all the candidates what is their roadmap to put an end to climate change in this part of the country.
“We want a just transition. Fuel seems to be the mainstay of the economy and it is rapidly destroying our environment because as we use the fuel it emits gasses that cause illnesses.
“We want a candidate, who will after winning, put a policy that leads to a just transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
“We are also looking for a candidate that will put a stop to funding fossil fuel and a stop to funding any corporation that will extract oil and pollute our land the more.
“They should put legislation on the table as a form of commitment that when they eventually win the election, they will pass a bill to protect the environment.
“They should promise us that they will utilise the opportunity of solar energy and investment in it for power generation. Solar panels should be accessible, affordable and available for everybody. And if this is done, the environment will ultimately restore itself. And there will be a reduction in gas flaring and pollution.”
Nbani added that young people who care for the environment would use Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to resist any candidate who does not have the environment at heart.