Leaders Seek Climate Change Mitigation

Leading emitters of greenhouse gases should honor their financial commitment to enable vulnerable African countries to strengthen their resilience to impacts of climate change. Heads of state and government who met at an AU summit here stressed that the industrial north has an obligation to assist African countries adapting to climatic shocks.

“Africa contributes less than 3 percent of total greenhouse gases that cause climate change. This should be a justification for us to ask the developed world to contribute more towards bridging the funding bill,” said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Global warming has wrought immense damage on Africa’s fragile ecosystems as well as physical and social infrastructure. Kikwete said that financing shortfalls, slow technological adoption and disjointed policies have undermined the fight against climate change in Africa.

“Addressing climate change requires massive financial resources and technological support never envisaged before. For example, addressing adaptation alone needs financial resources in the range of 7-15 billion U.S. dollars annually by 2020,” Kikwete told African leaders and diplomats.

The international community has been slow in honouring financial pledges to help African nations cope with climate induced vagaries. Kikwete warned that societies across Africa will suffer heavily in the absence of mitigation and adaptation programs.

“Scientific assessments indicate that Sub-Saharan Africa will suffer from climate induced disasters. There will be a 19 percent and 68 percent decrease in maize and beans yields respectively,” Kikwete said.

He added that African nations may lose 311 million U.S. dollars annually due to impacts of climate change on resource based economic sectors.

Political leaders in Africa have joined the civil society in lobbying for increased climate financing. The Committee of African heads of state and governments on climate change that is headed by President Kikwete has challenged big polluters to increase financial flows and technology required for climate change adaptation.

African countries have been unable to generate adequate financial resources to combat effects of climate change. Kikwete urged African leaders to lobby the international community to ensure climate financing is adequate and consistent.

“It is important to note that the green climate fund operational procedures have been completed. The developed world has an opportunity to honor what they promised,” said Kikwete.

He challenged governments to put policy and legislative frameworks in place to facilitate the absorption of climate funds. African leaders warned that a huge financing gap might derail low carbon growth in the continent. Dozens of political leaders, diplomats and policymakers agreed that Africa must unite in the push for increased climate financing.

“Our voice should be united on the need for deep and rules based emission reduction by all major emitters. Developed countries must scale up financing and technology transfer to boost response to climate change in the poor south,” said Kenyan Foreign Minister, Amina Mohammed.

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