News / Africa

African Leaders Want Commitments at Doha Talks

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Annual greenhouse gas emissions
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  • Listen to interview with Kim Lewis and Eugene Nforngwa

Kim Lewis
African representatives at the climate change conference in Doha may be walking away from talks with far less than their high expectations of obtaining commitments from rich countries to severely reduce emissions which are hurting the continent. They are also disappointed in the reduced commitment to assisting developing countries financially in combating the negative effects of climate change.

Eugene Nforngwa, a journalist based in Cameroon, is covering negotiations between African leaders and leaders of developed countries. He says so far rich nations are evasive on exactly how they will reduce the level of carbon emissions which are presently proving to be devastating to the continent.

“Right now Africa is pushing developed countries to reduce their emissions by up to 40 percent, compared to the levels in 1990, by 2012.  There’s been intense negotiation about this, and developed countries do not seem to agree with these levels.  African negotiators think that at the current levels, the temperatures will stay at about 2 degrees Celsius, that’s an increase in temperature and this could be devastating for Africa,” explained Nforngwa.

He added this could mean that temperature rises in some places in Africa would be as high as a four degrees Centigrade. Right now negotiations are centered on developed nations bringing the emissions down by 40 percent by 2012, and so far, said Nforngwa, no commitment to doing this has been made.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, Nforngwa said African leaders want rich countries to pay what they call a “climate debt” to Africa. 

“The understanding is that for centuries, rich countries have polluted the atmosphere to be able to develop to the point where they are, and feel they have used up what they are calling their space of the atmosphere,” said Nforngwa. He added that African leaders said rich countries need to give back some money to Africa to help them cope with the negative effects of climate change.

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