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Climate Change Conference - Djimon Hounsou interview

Developed countries need to be held accountable

by Daniel Finnan

Article published on the 2009-12-01 Latest update 2009-12-02 11:38 TU

Djimon Hounsou addresses summit on climate change in September 2009(Photo: UN/Marco Castro)

Djimon Hounsou addresses summit on climate change in September 2009
(Photo: UN/Marco Castro)

With the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference less than a week away, Beninese actor and two-time Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou says the world must pay attention to the effect global warming will have on Africa.

Hounsou believes that the impact of global warming on the continent could easily become “an international problem”.

And, he believes, developed countries “need to be held accountable”.

The actor recently opened a UN summit on climate change and feels strongly about how rising temperatures could affect the continent where he was born.

Africa contributes to less than four per cent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, yet it is already starting to feel the effects of global warming.

Hounsou, who now lives in California, told RFI that Africa will be “on the receiving end of the dramatic change in temperature”, as experts predict that southern Africa will become hotter and drier, while central Africa is likely to become hotter and wetter.

“The poorest, are the hardest hit, as far as finding ways to adapt to the impact of climate change,” he says.

Food production is expected to be severely affected by changing temperatures. Despite crop yields increasing in some areas, others will be increasingly affected by drought.

Many people will lose their livelihoods and the Cotonou-born US citizen believes that, “farming is more than a job, it’s a way of life”.

Climate change will “force people to move off their land, potentially provoke conflict, and cause economic and politically instability”.

Africa has 14 per cent of the world’s population, second only to Asia, and Hounsou believes that less-populated continents who are bigger polluters should take a look at their own record and its effect on the continent.

“Developed countries – what they are emitting year after year – some of those countries need to be held accountable.”

However, the award-winning actor is also realistic about his own contribution to the problem. He admits that his own carbon footprint is “quite a lot, given the fact that I move about, flying around, as far as work as concerned”.

Coming to terms with climate change has been a “learning process”, says Hounsou. Nowadays he tries to “consume less and recycle more”.

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