Cancun will be a flop, says Africa top spokesperson
Published 01st November 2010 - 0 comments - 539 views -
By Ochieng’ Ogodo
Ethiopian Prime Minster, Meles Zenawi, recently cast serious doubts on the possibility of a climate change deal at COP 16 in Cancun November 29-December 10.
“Cancun will be a total flop. South Africa will be a total flop,” he was categorical at the High Level Dialogue on Governance and Leadership Response to Climate Change at the Seventh African Development Forum on October 13. South Africa will host COP 17 next year.
Zenawi who is also the Coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change urged African leadership to prove itself in the global climate change negotiations arena
At the international level, he said, there was leadership crisis on environmental issues. He urged Africa to prove itself by interacting with the international community in response to climate change.
African leadership, he said, had made progress on climate change finance adding that it was challenging but feasible to mobiles the US$ 100 billion for climate change issues.
Proper and adequate carbon pricing was enough for making the US$ 100 billion without which, he observed, raising this money will be impossible. “This means the European Union will double what it is paying,” he stated.
And here, according to Zenawi, is where the challenge of leadership is. He said the developed world had not adequately educated their citizenry and as a result a strange altitude and myopic ideas to climate change exists among them.
But the lack of leadership, he said, should not be seen in the context of the lacks of success in negotiation forums. “The inability to stand up is the deficit of leadership,” he pointed out.
Praising the United Kingdom and Norway, he said the two countries had gone against some prevailing ideas in Europe and were making significant decisions to support poor countries deal with climate change impacts.
He said the UK government has decided on massive cuts on its budget but did not touch foreign development aid. “It decided not to balance that budget on the back of the poor,” he stated.
He said Norway, despite being one the major carbon emitters, had decided to embark on the path to carbon free development and had promised to the developing world finances for adaptation and mitigation.
Taking a swipe on the west, Zenawi said Africa will not accept to pay for crimes of others. “We will not accept to pay for crimes of others. Tha fact is that we did not create climate changing but have paid the highest price. Africa is paying for one of the most heinous crimes it did not commit and the US$ 100 billion is down payment for reparations,” Zenawi decried.
“We will not wait with our hands folded up but we will fight until they pay up,’ he said.
At the same time, he stated, Africa will be doing a lot internally as there is much the continent can do to on her own to mitigate and adapt to climate change
The Ethiopian leader took issue with international financial bodies and bilateral funding institutions saying they were taking too long to deliver money for adaptation and mitigation passing through them.
“It took the Word Bank one year to deliver money given to Guyana from Norway,” he explained. But on the balance, he preferred the financial institutions to bilateral aid agencies.
One of the approach Africa must follow in quest for climate justice, he pointed out, was to be able to talk to people in the developed countries and enlighten their citizens. “Engaging people in the west in an intelligent fashion as not all NGOs in these countries are sensible,” he jabbed.
To demonstrate his claim, Zenawi said some international NGOs were opposed Ethiopia’s Gibe Three power dam project on River Omo that will generate electricity for both his country and neighboring Kenya.
“We have to educate even those masquerading as environmental protectors when they are not,” he remarked.
Climate change, he said, had made it difficult and more expensive for Africa to develop.
He said adaptation money has been going to India and China because Africa has no capacity to mess the environment. “Behind all these seemingly illogical decision there is interest which we have to learn to deal with,” he told the attentive audience.
It is his position that Africa needs climate finance to adapt and mitigate. In Africa we have no option but to go for green development from local resources,” he said.
He supported UNFCCC saying it may be inefficient but it was the only African option. “It is the only means in town,” remarked Zenawi.
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