G-8 leaders in Italy pledged to cut global emissions 50 percent by
2050. But advocacy organizations say that the commitment is much too
weak and too vague for sub-Saharan Africa, which is already facing
serious challenges due to a changing climate.
The advocacy groups say
that the 2050 deadline set by the G-8 leaders is much too far away to
address the serious issues arising from changing global temperatures.
Sharman, head of climate change policy at the international development
organization "ActionAid," claims African nations need an immediate
commitment from industrialized nations both to cut their emissions by
2020 and to provide emergency funds to help affected countries respond
to climate-related disasters.
"What the G-8 and the major
economies forum agreed [to] was only to talk about the targets for
2050, which is a long way off and probably hardly any G-8 leaders will
be alive at that date," he said. "What they really needed to do was
talk about the 2020 target and how much money they're going to put on
the table - and they failed to do either."
One of the criticisms
of the G-8 pledge is its vague wording regarding the base year for
determining the agreed upon emissions cut. The statement declared the
2050 emission levels were to be "compared to 1990 or later years,"
leaving what critics suggest is a wide open door for G-8 leaders to
hedge on the actual specifics of the pledge.
the assistant director at the "Eastern Africa Environmental Network,"
says that those regions that have had least to do with the shifting
climate are now the ones suffering the most from its consequences. As
an example he points out this year's severe drought in East Africa.
[the] eastern Africa region has not been part of the industrialized
world, and is not still, yet it is actually bearing the greatest brunt
of climate change," said Malakwen. "Many people are dying because of
hunger; crops are failing; livestock are dying - even the wildlife,
which is actually one of the backbones of the economy in terms of
A recent report by development organization "Oxfam
International" links the current hunger crisis being experienced across
the region to the shifting climate trends. The report predicts that
changing seasons and prolonged droughts could dramatically decrease the
yield of maize crops, the staple food of a quarter billion East
Recent studies also show that changes in climate may severely disrupt the livelihoods of the pastoralist herders in the region.
predicts that the people of sub-Saharan Africa will not be impressed by
the pledges they have received from the G-8 leaders.
"I think if
they see what the G-8 have said, they will be extremely disappointed
and once again feel that the G-8 leaders are not really understanding
Africa's problem, particularly in the case of climate change where
Africa is one of the continents that stands to be hit first and hardest
by climate change and yet has done least to contribute to the problem,"
According to the "International Governmental Panel on
Climate Change," emissions from industrialized nations must be cut 25
to 40 percent by 2020 to avoid global climate-related disasters.
reviewing the G-8 Summit this week, U.S. President Barack Obama said
discussions on climate change had improved chances for further
negotitaions later this year. He said the discussions had been "candid