Monday, December 1, 2008

Poverty and Climate Change Justice in Africa

At the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2007 in Bali, a new phase in the international climate negotiations was initiated. African countries will now be excluded from all commitments to emission reduction. They expect massive international financial transfers from further negotiations in order to be able to adapt to the severe impacts of climate change.

The African people and African ecosystems with their unique biodiversity will be the major victims of global climate change. At the same time, no significant contribution by Africa to global warming can be established: less than three percent of theworld's total emissions of greenhouse gases emanate from the African continent. This does not even correspond to its low share in the global gross national product.The most recent UNDP report on human development establishes clearly the connection between climate change and poverty.

The consequences of climate change perpetuate and aggravate already existing injustices. This particularly true of Africa, where two mutually reinforcing factors – poverty and factual climate change, for example, in the form of drought – collide.

African states are without exception the taillights of the Human Development Index (position156-177) (UNDP 2007).As a consequence of climate change, it is assumed that diseases such as malaria and Rift Valleyfever will spread. Even though it is assumed that malaria pathogens or their carriers will not survive climate change in some regions, other areas will become malaria zones. Even today malaria is spreading into the hitherto malaria-free highlands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi. It is even likely that malaria will spread into the highlands of Somalia and Angola by the end of the century. By and large, it is anticipated that malaria cases will increase by five to seven percent by 2100 (Boko etal. 2007: 446; WWF 2006).

If this continues, what do you think will happen in the next 10 years? what are you doing about it?
-be the change-

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