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ActionAid Warns Against a Weak Deal at the Climate Change Conference

  • Kim Lewis

The NGO says food insecurity will worsen in Africa unless appropriate action is taken

Climate experts say data for the first decade of the 21st century will likely show it to be the warmest on record, with 2009 its hottest year.

The World Meteorological Organization released those findings today on the second day of a 192-nation climate conference in Copenhagen.

WMO Chief Michel Jarraud told representatives that final analysis early next year will likely show 2009 as the fifth warmest year since scientists began recording global data in 1850.

The WMO also cites 2009 weather extremes that include China's worst drought in five decades, Australia's third warmest year and the hottest daily temperature ever recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Delegates to the December Copenhagen conference are seeking to craft a deal to curb global warming and help poor countries cope with its effects.

More than 100 world leaders, including U-S President Barack Obama, are expected to attend the conference next week.

Among the many humanitarian agencies participating at the conference is ActionAid. The NGO warns a weak deal in Copenhagen would be the worst possible outcome for the one in six people going hungry around the world. ActionAid says for African countries, harvest yields are already forecast to decline up to 50% within the next decade due to climate change.

Kenya-based ActionAid worker Dominic Walubengo Wandera said, “We are hoping that out of this conference there will be agreement on adaptation and using emissions.”

Wandera described how climate change is affecting harvests in some African countries. “There are a lot of droughts, especially in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Somalia, and we’ve had floods in parts of west Africa like Niger, Nigeria and Mali. And so we attribute all of this to climate change and this drought and floods are affecting crops, livestock and of course food security,” he said.

The activist said he would like to see industrialized nations provide Africa “with proper technology that can help us to survive drought and floods,” he said

ActionAid also has what it calls Climate Debt Agents participating at the conference. These agents sport red suits and cruise the streets of Copenhagen, stressing to delegates the importance of crafting a comprehensive agreement on climate change.

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