Low-emission Africa urges developed nations to help tackle climate change

Updated: 2015-12-02 18:58


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NAIROBI -- African officials and scholars have urged developed countries to help the continent, one of the most vulnerable victims of climate change, to address global warming by offering finance and technology.

As the world's poorest region, Africa is believed to be among regions that bear the worst consequences of climate change, namely, an increase in average global temperatures.


Africa will be seriously "affected by the effects of climate change," Olusola Olutayo-David, an expert in climate change matters and chief executive officer at the Lagos-based Panache Concepts Integrated Nig. Ltd., told Xinhua.

Natural events and human activities, including the increase of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, are believed to be contributing to climate change, he said.

Although Africa contributes very little to global warming, the socio-economic consequences of climate change spare no nation, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said at a recent forum.

"Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far ranging impact on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said recently.

"Desertification is growing in Africa as deforestation increases. Although Africa is a low polluter because of its limited industrialization, it tends to suffer the consequences of high pollution elsewhere," Munene Macharia, a lecturer on international relations at the U.S. International University (USIU) in Nairobi, Kenya, told Xinhua.

President Buhari said Nigeria is affected by extreme weather variations, excessive rainfall, erosion and floods, land degradation, encroaching desertification and rising sea levels, to mention a few.

These developments, said Buhari, have devastating human costs and further affect Nigerians' survival, their livelihood and food security.

Isabelle Kamariza, Rwanda's representative to the One Young World forum, said that with 80 percent of its population dependent on agriculture, Rwanda is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and has suffered a lot in recent years due to an increase in droughts and floods.

"It will be (a) disaster for South Africa and Africa if temperatures are not reduced especially (for) the agricultural sector," said Albi Modise, spokesperson for the South African Department of Water and Environment Affairs.


"South Africa aligns itself with other African countries in calling for the developed countries to pay for the damages resulting from the effects of climate change. We strongly need help with finance and technology to fast track the transition to green economy," Modise said.

South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday called for a fair and ambitious legally-binding agreement on climate change at the ongoing 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.

As the host of the negotiations at the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa has a special interest in doing all that it can to ensure the success of the Paris conference, Zuma said.

"To be successful, the new agreement must be fair. Fairness would imply respect for the Convention's principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities," said Zuma.

The South African president urged developed countries to offer help to developing ones to mitigate global warming.

"The provision of financial resources, technology transfer and development, and capacity building, is central to the Paris agreement," he said. "The reality is that without adequate, predictable and sustainable means of implementation, it will be impossible to reach our agreed (two degrees Celsius) temperature target."

This is because the key mitigation potential is in developing countries and these countries are not able to realize this potential on their own, he added.

A statement from the Rwandan government said Tuesday that the country hopes that a new legally binding global agreement can be reached at the Paris climate conference, which has been lasting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

"Rwanda will go to Paris calling for greater action on climate change and for more and better financing for vulnerable nations. We will also share our experience in implementing innovative environment conservation programs and work with international partners to mobilize resources," Rwandan Natural Resources Minister Vincent Biruta said.

He said the ultimate objective is to reach an agreement that prevents the impacts of climate change and supports poor countries to respond and adapt to a warming planet.

"As a party to the UN (Framework) Convention on Climate Change, our expectation from Paris is to come up with a new agreement that enables all countries to combat climate change effectively and that accelerates the transition toward low-carbon societies and economies," Biruta said.

"The suggestion that Africa get paid for not polluting is double edged in that it implies delay of economic growth while serving as a big absorption sponge for exported pollution," said Macharia, the lecturer with USIU in Nairobi.

This, however, can be mitigated by intensified use of clean energy in big power industries so as to reduce global pollution, Macharia said, appealing developed countries to "assist Africa to industrialize through clean energy and technologically advanced ecology-friendly systems."

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