African nations are petitioning hard for developed countries to contribute more funds towards cushioning the least polluting continent from its unique vulnerabilities to climate-related disasters
Demands for recognition of Africa’s special circumstances remain sticky at the global climate change negotiations in Madrid, Spain, a year after the debate was suspended in Katowice, Poland.
Yesterday, Mohamed Nasir, chairperson of the African Group of Negotiations (AGN) to which Malawi belongs, told journalists that continued indifference may push vulnerable countries to start extracting its abundance of coal and petroleum to protect their populations from disasters caused by global warming.
The continent plays home to 17 percent of the world’s population, but contributes just four percent to global emissions that increase the frequency and severity of floods, cyclones, drought and other weather shocks.
However, studies show that climate-related emergencies wipe out nearly a tenth of the continent’s gross domestic product, but the vulnerable nations face growing global demands to keep their hands off petroleum, coal and other fossil fuels to reduce air pollution and climate change.
Nasir stated: Africa is already paying for the climate catastrophes it is not responsible for. The continent has high levels of poverty, rapid population growth and a youth boom, but we are being asked to not to use these resources regardless of competing needs.
“So when we talk about special circumstances needs, we are saying yes we are very impacted, yes we are vulnerable, but the Paris Agreement is not about looking backwards. We need support to move forward sustainably.”
The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) countries will be the worst hit if the world does not meet the Paris Agreement to reduce the global surface temperature to well below two degrees Celsius.report indicates that African
In an interview, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira backed the stance of the African bloc and its allies, saying Least Developed Countries (LCDs) are bearing the brunt of wealthy nations’ emissions.
“We need more funding for both adaptation and mitigation measures. However, these funds should not only come as loans, but also grants. Why should Malawi and our fellow LCDs pay twice for the emissions from developed nations?” he asked.
President Peter Mutharika said at the opening of the 25th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that the country requires $375 million for recovery.
Looking back to the Katowice snub, former AGN leader Tosi Mpanupanu warned against emotions in climate negotiations.
“Africa is not competing with anyone, but we need to be allowed and encouraged to move forward in a sustainable way,” said the Gabonese.
Pan-African Climate Justice Network board member Augustine Njamashi, said Africa is not renegotiating or redefining the climate pact made in France, but lobbies for “continuation of the neglected global commitments”.
“Africa is rich in coal and petroleum, but finance should be provided to allow the continent to stay on the chosen path to a zero-carbon future. We have a choice, but we have chosen what is good for the shared planet,” he said.