27 October 2009

Africa: Climate Change - Developing Countries Push For U.S.$400 Billion Compensation

Abuja — As the build-up to the global summit on climate change in Denmark gathers momentum countries of the developing world have asked the industrialized nations to cough-out $400bn as financial reparation for the economic and social losses brought upon them as a result of many years of carbon emission into the atmosphere.

The demand by developing countries which formed the main plank of their articulated positions for the world conference on Climate Change coming up in December, came on the heels of the decision of Africa to forge a common front at the summit with Ethiopia and Nigeria playing a leading role in presenting the continent's position.

One of the discussants at yesterday's inter-ministerial committee's meeting held in Abuja and the Director of Finance in the Climate Change Unit of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Peter Tarfa, said as part of the effort to attract the required level of funding for adaptation programmes, developing countries were making a proposal to developed countries to contribute between $200bn and $400bn yearly to support the poor nations.

"Developing Countries are seeking between $200bn and $400bn as compensation from industrialized nations to assist them in managing the effects of climate change which they believed were mostly brought about by the economic activities of these rich countries", he said.

Tarfa also said Nigeria faces a looming threat of economic losses up to about $100m annually as a result of the debilitating impact of desertification, deforestation, flooding, erosion and coastal sea rise if nothing is done to improve our adaptation capacity.

He said the developing countries are also asking for a new financial architecture which can enable them access donor funds easily without any hinderance or technicalities.

Tarfa who presented a paper on the nature of financial bail-out that countries of the developing world are making demand for, said African, countries are insisting that they would no longer subscribe to the idea of using loans to manage the damaging impact of climate change.

According to him global agreement that would take care of funding for such areas as in adaptation, technology and capacity-building is what developing countries were pushing for.

The Minister of Environment, John Odey, in his speech warned that Climate Change will drastically impact every facet of life in Nigeria as it aggravates.

According to him "although the impacts of Climate Change are going to be global, reports have shown that Nigeria and the continent of Africa will be worse hit. This is in spite of the fact that Africa contributes least to the emissions responsible for Climate Change."

"The most important and globally accepted agreement to address climate change is the Kyoto Protocol. The processes leading to the Protocol commenced in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro when leaders of the industrialized nations met at a UN Climate Convention and agreed to stabilize their greenhouse gas emission concentration at a level that will not be inimical to the Climate System

"However, the Protocol has virtually failed to address the purpose for which it was signed. Since signing of the Protocol by over 184 countries, the green house gas emission situation has taken a turn for the worse as the industrialized nations have not been able to tame their emission level. The Protocol will span out in the year 2012 and the negotiations of the successor of the Protocol are due to be finalized in Copenhagen in December, this year.

"In preparation of our negotiation position towards Copenhagen , the ministry has taken cue from Mr President's declaration that even though we are not one of the countries responsible for the emissions, we are prepared to be part of the efforts to arrest the effects.

"Nigeria's position, which was put together by this Committee in June this year, is very much in line with Common African Position following the resolutions at the African Union Summit in 2008 that in preparations towards Copenhagen Conference, African nations should build a common African Position.

"This position has taken special recognition of the fact that being an oil producing nation, our country seeks to benefit from funds that could be deployed for adaptation and mitigation measures as well as for the development of alternative sources of energy under the Clean Development Mechanism.

"For us in Nigeria , the up coming Conference in December is very crucial to our Development Agenda and our National Vision.

"Climate change scenarios for Nigeria indicate that the climatic variability currently being experienced is likely to increase and

intensify. Droughts, floods and storms are likely to increase in both frequency and intensity. Changes in precipitation levels and patterns are also likely to occur thus having an impact on agriculture and food production.

"In coastal areas, sea level rise and rising sea temperatures will threaten coastal areas and fishing activities in the southern region. The prospective impacts on our society and the economy are huge and cross-cutting."

"In our efforts to promote low carbon economy in Nigeria , we have successfully increased the number of registered Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Nigeria from one to three in the last one year. The first was the Kwale Gas Utilization Projects while the second and the third projects are the Pan Ocean Gas Utilization Project and the Save 80 Fuel Efficient Wood Stove respectively.

"This achievement is first of its kind in Africa and it has placed Nigeria ahead of every other African nation in the number of Certified Emission Reduction (CER) units. The projects would go a long way in reducing problems of deforestation and accompanying land degradation across the country. This achievement will also significantly compliment the objectives of Mr. President's nation-wide Afforestation Program.

"In order to build on this success however, Nigeria should seize the opportunity of the Copenhagen Conference to urgently exert its political muscle in and out of the continent to insist not only that Africa must be compensated for the impacts of climate change and opportunity lost", he said..

The Head of Climate Change Unit in the Ministry, Dr. Victor Fodake said Africa has resolved that it will neither accept replacement of Kyoto Protocol nor its merger with any new agreement.

"Developed Countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80% to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050, in order to achieve the lowest level of stabilisation assessed by the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report", he said.

He said at the last meeting of the African countries aimed fashioning a common front ahead of the conference in Denmark, the countries agreed that Ethiopia and Nigeria should play a leading role in driving the continent's position at the summit.

Yesterday's meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Minister of Aviation, Minister of State for Agriculture, Minister of Special Duties, Minister of Foreigns Affairs amongs others.

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