News / Africa

World Bank: Much at Stake at Climate Conference

A farmer takes water form a dried-up pond to water his vegetable field on the outskirts of Yingtan, Jiangxi province December 10, 2007. Climate change has been blamed for more frequent droughts in some regions.
A farmer takes water form a dried-up pond to water his vegetable field on the outskirts of Yingtan, Jiangxi province December 10, 2007. Climate change has been blamed for more frequent droughts in some regions.
Joe DeCapua

The World Bank says tough decisions lie ahead at the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. A top bank official says nations need to decide on a long-term strategy.

Andrew Steer, the World Bank’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, says there are two big issues that will dominate the conference, known as COP 17. The first is what to do after the Kyoto Protocol expires next year. The protocol is linked to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Steer said, “The stakes are high. This is a decade when action is absolutely central and yet it’s also a decade in which obviously the economic conditions are not conducive to breakthrough, if you like.”

It’s not clear what will follow the Kyoto Protocol.

“But what really does matter,” he said, “is that Durban agrees on a process by which countries in the near future sit down and ask themselves: Are we doing enough?”

The second major issue is funding. How do you pay for climate change projects when countries are cutting spending in response to the global economic crisis?

More than 130 countries have now asked the World Bank for help in dealing with climate change.

“Climate change is already threatening development progress. Already today, we’re seeing the impacts of climate change in several of our client countries,” he said.

Africa centric

Steer said agriculture is the area most threatened by climate change, with the potential to dramatically reduce yields. At the same time, agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to rising temperatures.

“If you add the direct greenhouse gases from agriculture, which account for about 14 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions – if you add to that the impact of agriculture on deforestation, probably over 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are due to agriculture,” he said

The World Bank special envoy said South Africa and the African Union hope to make the climate conference Africa centric.

“It would mean that the psychology of Africa towards climate change could be changed with regard, for example, to energy access. Sixty-five percent of African households don’t have access to electricity. Most people might think: Well, climate change would surely slow down those 65 percent getting electricity. Our view and I think the view of the host is that actually climate change needs to accelerate those people getting electricity in their houses. Why? Because if they don’t get electricity it’ll be even worse,” he said.

Steer also said Africa is only using 10 percent of its potential for hydro power. He adds the continent has a huge potential in renewable energy resources.

The U.N. Climate Change Conference runs from November 29th through December 9th.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs