By Joshua Kyalimpa
DURBAN, South Africa, 2 Dec (IPS) – Civil society organisations are urging Africa to remain steadfast in its demands for a commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and not to be bulldozed into a new agreement.
“The African nations are watching you,” Bobby Peek, of Friends of the Earth, told the Africa group during a press conference in Durban. The conference, led by Friends of the Earth and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, comes as negotiators continue to struggle to reach an agreement.
“People in Africa are already paying the price of two hundred years of industrial pollution by the developed world. Africa must fight to ensure that developed countries deliver on their legal and moral obligation to cut the emissions that are putting the lives of millions of people at risk,” said Peek.
Tetteh Hormeku, of the African Trade Network, says if Africa were to shift its position, the consequences could be grave. Hormeku says targets in the expiring protocol are not adequate and should have been raised, but the biggest emitters are looking to hinder the process.
There are also fears that South Africa, the biggest polluter on the continent, may attempt to side with the developed world. Michele Maynard, of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, says: “South Africa has a leading role to play, as the chair of these talks here in Durban.
“The South African chair of the talks must not let South Africa down. African nations must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to deliver radical action to cut emissions, and substantial finance to allow Africa to adapt to the impacts already being felt.”
Augustine Njamushi, of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, says Africa is already feeling the impacts of climate change and delays in agreeing to a legally binding document means the continent will continue burning as others benefit. “The future of African agriculture, food and survival is at stake that is why it’s important that the continent sticks to its position.”
Martin Khor, of the South Centre, says developing countries are already doing quite a lot compared to the developed world. “It’s not fair to treat the developing countries with big populations like developed countries when their per capita carbon is incomparable.”