Africa Threatens to Walk Out of Climate Talks

AU Monitor reports that Africa’s climate negotiators led by Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, threatened to walk out of talks if the December climate summit in Copenhagen failed to consider Africa’s position.

‘If need be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent,’ he said. Zenawi told Africa ministers and European partners gathered in Addis Ababa yesterday to consolidate the continent’s position for the next global climate negotiations.

Meles hinted his delegation will not claim compensation but fight for global action to reduce the impact of climate change. ‘We will never accept any global deal that does not limit global warming to the minimum avoidable level, no matter what level of compensation and assistance we are promised’ he argued.

Zenawi was elected by the African Union (AU) as a chair of African environment ministers to head the delegation, which includes Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. AU chief Jean Ping and current AU chairman Muammar Gadaffi will accompany the team to the Copenhagen talks.

Africa needs an estimated $300 billion in financial support and technology transfer to mitigate the impact of climate change, according to an AU position paper. The continent demands that developed states commit 0.5 per cent of their GDPs for climate action in developing countries. Ping said the upcoming negotiation should ensure a sustainable financial flow to deal with climate change. ‘Existing financial mechanisms are inadequate, complex and fragmented and have constrained African countries from gaining access to these resources,’ Ping said.

Africa needs to create an African climate change fund through collaboration amongst African institutions such as the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. According to the AU’s common position document, rich nations need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. Africa also demanded a better climate change adaptation fund worth $67 billion per year by 2020. Developed countries should commit to the transfer of technology to developing countries, based on principles of equity.

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