Thursday, October 31, 2013

Africa urged to pursue homegrown climate change solutions

Thomson Reuters Foundation: African nations are entitled to a fair share of financial and other assistance from the developed world to help them cope with climate change, but they should also take the initiative to green their own economies and use land more sustainably and productively, experts told a conference on climate change and development in Ethiopia this month.

The Kenya-based Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a coalition of non-governmental organisations, urged rich nations to commit at upcoming U.N. climate talks in Warsaw to provide climate aid equivalent to at least 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP). The group also called for the establishment of an international mechanism to protect the most vulnerable countries from losses and damage resulting from climate change.

At the Addis Ababa conference, which was attended by more than 700 delegates from 54 African countries, Carlos Lopes, U.N. under secretary general and executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said “principles of corrective and distributive justice should apply” at November’s U.N. climate negotiations in Warsaw.

Lopes noted that per capita carbon dioxide emissions in Africa are less than 1 tonne each year. Yet while Africa accounts for just 2.4 percent of global emissions, the negative impacts of climate change estimated as a percentage of GDP are higher in Africa than in wealthier parts of the world, he added.

As a result the continent is a massive ecological creditor, Lopes said, even though countries responsible for 80 percent of global emissions do not accept this concept. The aid Africa has received for adapting to climate change so far is less than 2 percent of the total it needs, he added...

A fruit stand in Swaziland, shot by Sara Atkins, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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