Africa calls on industrialized nations to fund its climate change adaptation programs

14:53, December 04, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

African countries will next week call on industrialized nations at the Copenhagen summit to create a fund to help the continent adapt to climate change, a Zimbabwean minister has said.

Environment and Natural Resources Management minister Francis Nhema told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday that greenhouse gas emissions from Africa were insignificant yet it was the worst affected by the ravaging effects of climate change, which included droughts and floods.

"As Africa we are the least emitters," he said. "We are not the cause of climate change so we need compensation. There is need to create a fund which will help us to fight or adapt to climate change."

Developed countries are the major emitters of green house gases. Zimbabwe is understood to contribute 0.05 percent to global greenhouse emissions.

The minister spoke as preparatory meetings kicked off in Copenhagen, Denmark, ahead of the meeting of the heads of state and government that are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol.

The world leaders will work out concrete measures to combat the causes of climate change as well as come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol due to expire next year.

The minister said climate change was not a myth but a reality which the world must accept and look for mitigation measures.

"Developed countries must acknowledge the problem. Climate change knows no boundaries. It affects everyone.

"So as Africa we will be speaking with one voice and vision. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia (Meles Zenawi) will lead the African delegation," he added.

The minister noted that droughts and floods had severely compromised Zimbabwe's ability to meet the Millennium Development Goal to eradicate hunger by 2010.

In Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, deforestation had contributed to climate change with the country losing about 300 000 hectares of trees due to deforestation every year.

Nhema called for massive re-greening of the country, and for bulk users of wood such as tobacco farmers to establish own energy resources for tobacco curing.

"We cannot as a country, continue growing tobacco in an unsustainable way. We seriously need to embark on a massive tree planting exercise to replace those trees we cut to cure our tobacco," he said.

Ironically, tobacco is one of Zimbabwe's top foreign currency earners, raking in 178 million U.S. dollars for the country last year.

Zimbabwe, he said, had earmarked to plant 10 million trees between now and December 2010 when it commemorates its annual tree planting day which falls on the first Saturday of December. The country has commemorated the day since 1982.

Nhema, meanwhile, called on the country to significantly invest in renewable sources of energy to combat climate change.

He noted that the country had made remarkable progress in phasing out ozone depleting substances, which also have a bearing on climate change.

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion