/ languages

Choisir langue

Climate Change Conference - opening

Copenhagen conference opens, Africa wants strong commitments

Article published on the 2009-12-07 Latest update 2009-12-07 10:39 TU

An environmental activist anchors a balloon outside the congress centre in Copenhagen before the opening of the UN climate chaneg conference, 7 December 2009(Photo: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters)

An environmental activist anchors a balloon outside the congress centre in Copenhagen before the opening of the UN climate chaneg conference, 7 December 2009
(Photo: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters)

Delegates from 192 countries opened the UN summit on climate change in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, Monday. The 12-day talks aim to devise a new pact to curb global warming, to replace the Kyoto Protocol. African leaders are represented by a delegation at the conference, which is threatening to walk out if a two-track solution is not continued.

"Deep divisions remain between developed and developing countries,” reports correspondent Olga Manda from Copenhagen.

“Developing countries are pushing for ambitious, urgent targets that would legally commit rich countries, blamed for most of the pollution, to deeper emissions reductions, finance harmful climate impacts, and support clean development in poorer nations.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, heading a delegation representing African nations at the summit, has already warned that African leaders will walk out of the summit if their demands are not met.

They want the continuation of the two-track process laid out in Kyoto, explained Lesley Masters of the Institute for Global Change, but they also want more help to cope with the effects of climate change.

“We will undertake efforts to reduce emissions, but we need the finances, we need the technology to leapfrog these polluting industrial techniques,” she told RFI.

Analysis: Lesley Masters, Institute for Global Change,

07/12/2009 by Alexandra Brangeon

African leaders want stronger commitments from developed countries, because their countries are bearing the brunt of the effects of global warming, but contribute little to the effects.

“Africa is particularly vulnerable, but it only contributes something like one per cent of the world’s emissions,” said Masters, adding that African leaders have been disappointed by developed countries in the lead-up to the summit.

“There’s a sense from the developing countries, from Africa, that developed countries are using increasingly divisive tactics, they’re slowing down negotiations, they’re loading these talks with details, and they’re trying to isolate the major developing countries from the least developing countries.”

Ultimately, a successful outcome of the summit rests on rich countries: whether they agree not only to emissions reductions, but to finance developing countries.

“Climate change is a new threat, and we need to find new money to tackle it,” Tim Gore, a climate change policy adviser for the anti-poverty group Oxfam, told RFI.

Q+A: Tim Gore, Oxfam

07/12/2009 by Amanda Morrow

Any delay in funding today, means it will cost more in the long-run, he said, adding that Oxfam would like rich countries to commit long-term, regular financing to developing countries, of more than 200 billion dollars a year by 2020.

“They need to know that the money is coming and that it’s coming in adequate scale, so that they can plan the action over the long term to transform their economy,” he said.

Bookmark and Share