Home | News    Saturday 19 December 2009

Africa sought real climate funds in Copenhagen


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

Dec18,2009(ADDIS ABABA) - While climate change summit in Copenhagen enters into its last phase, African negotiators have demanded up to 100 billion US dollar annual climate compensation but warned that they are not prepared to accept empty words and agreements that undermine the fundamental interest of the continent.

Put forward by Ethiopia’s PM Meles Zenawi, who heads the African negotiating team, the proposal calls for a three-year, 30 Billion dollars "fast-start" fund starting in 2010 to address urgent adaptation and mitigation, with 40% the start-fund going to Africa.

This above figure would progress to 50 billion dollars annually in 2015, and to 100 billion by the year 2020.

The lead negotiator, PM Meles stressed that Africa under no circumstance, would accept a deal that would not ensure its interest and benefit.

"Africa loses more than most if there is no agreement on climate change," the official Ethiopian News Agency quoted Meles as saying at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.

"We are determined to make sure that in Copenhagen we will have an agreement that all of us, Africa included, are happy with," he declared.

The fund he added should be financed through creative financing mechanisms such as carbon tax, the global auction of emission rights or tax on commercial air traffic shipping and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change should mandate a commission of political leaders and experts to review all such funding mechanisms and come up with a reliable system of funding and submit its report within six months.

The proposed compensation fund by Meles Zenawi is well below the 400 billion dollars, one percent of the GDP of rich countries, called for by the G77 group of 130 developing nations.

But it matches the amount EU leaders have said developing countries would need each, potentially laying the ground for agreement on long-term funding.
"I know my proposal will disappoint those Africans who, from the point of view of justice, have asked for full compensation of the damage done to our development prospects," Meles told a ministerial meeting of the 194-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"Because we have more to lose than others, we have to be prepared to be flexible," he said.

Beyond compensatory handouts, Africa should widely get engaged in carbon credit investment that will enable it to increase contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon credit is a permit that allows the holder to emit one ton of carbon dioxide. Credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced their green house gases below their emission quota. Carbon credits can be traded in the international market at their current market price.

Countries like China and India which are the leading sellers and top beneficiaries from carbon credits are polluters but so far have profited by selling so-called carbon credits to developed countries, thereby enabling polluters to continue polluting while not affecting the developing countries’ goal of catching up to the West.

Therefore countries having commitments under the Kyoto Protocol use market mechanisms to acquire emission units from other countries and use them to meet a part of their targets.

This clean development mechanism (CDM) allows emission reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credit by reducing greenhouse gas emissions which are then sold to industrialised countries to meet a part of the targets.


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