Africa May Veto Climate Change Deal: Ethiopian PM
Author: Barry Malone
Zaghaneib trees are seen during sunset in Shelatine April 22, 2009.
Photo: Asmaa Waguih
ADDIS ABABA - Africa will veto any climate change deal that does not meet its demand for money from rich nations to cut the impact of global warming on the continent, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Thursday.
A U.N. summit scheduled for December in Copenhagen will try to reach global agreement on how to tackle climate change and come up with a post-Kyoto protocol to curb harmful emissions.
"We will use our numbers to delegitimize any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position," Meles told a conference of climate change experts in Addis Ababa.
"If needs be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent."
Meles did not say how much money Africa would be looking for in Denmark but some experts have said the continent should ask for up to $200 billion a year.
Africa contributes little to the pollution blamed for warming but is the hardest hit by the drought and flooding cycle that is already affecting parts of the continent.
Ten African leaders last month held talks at the African Union (AU) headquarters in the Ethiopian capital and agreed on a common stance ahead of the Copenhagen talks.
"SINGLE NEGOTIATING TEAM"
"Africa will field a single negotiating team empowered to negotiate on behalf of all member states of the African Union," said Meles, who will represent the continent at the summit.
"Africa's interest and position will not be muffled as has usually been the case."
Meles -- who has become Africa's most outspoken advocate on climate change -- argued earlier this year that pollution in the northern hemisphere may have caused his country's ruinous famines in the 1980s.
A study published in May by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum said poor nations bear more than nine-tenths of the human and economic burden of climate change.
The 50 poorest countries, however, contribute less than 1 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that scientists say are threatening the planet, the report said.
Developing nations accuse the rich of failing to take the lead in setting deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and say they are trying to get the poor to shoulder more of the burden of emission curbs without providing aid and technology.
(Editing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura)