Hinterland Green

Sunday, May 31, 2009

African Officials Ask For Climate Reparations Payments at UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December

Environment ministers from Africa have called for more money and support from rich nations ahead of a landmark climate conference in Copenhagen because the continent contributes so little to global warming but suffers disproportionately from its effects. The ministers did not give a figure, but the U.N. says Africa needs at least $1 billion a year to manage the effects of climate change such as sinking islands, changing farming techniques and even relocating people from areas affected by extreme weather. In recent years, the continent has begun to experience the effects of a fast warming planet, which has stirred up a hornet's nest of woes on the poorest continent. For example, malaria, which is widespread in warm lowland areas of Africa and kills millions, has started to be recorded in the continent's cooler highland areas. Climate scientists are now predicting that some African mountains will lose all their snow cover and staple crops such as wheat, may disappear in the 2080s.
The U.S. and China are the world's largest polluters, accounting for about half the world's carbon emissions. But neither country was part of the Kyoto accord, which called on 37 countries to cut carbon emissions by a total of 5 percent below 1990 levels.The United States refused to sign Kyoto, citing the costs to the economy and lack of participation by China, India and other fast-developing countries. But some of those countries have said rich countries are not aggressive enough in cutting their own emissions. U.S. emissions now are 16 percent above what they were two decades ago.

Global temperatures have risen 0.22 degrees (0.12 degrees Celsius) since 1990, according to one U.S. government estimate. The U.N.'s chief panel on climate change estimates that the risk of increased severe weather will rise if the global average temperature increases between 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) and 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels.

Scientists attribute at least some of the past century's 1-degree rise in global temperatures to the atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, byproducts of power plants, automobiles and other fossil fuel-burning sources.

Experts project that within 11 years some African countries may see farm harvests drop by up to 50 percent because water will be scarce and the continent relies on rain for its agricultural production. In the same period, they say, between 75 million and 250 million Africans are expected to suffer increased water shortages because of climate change. Source: Huffington Post
The last thing African needs to have land on its doorstep are problems associated with global warming. I don't know if demanding reparations will help them very much, but it is a starting point in trying to combat the effects of global warming.