- Title: DENMARK/FILE: Africans call on Obama for climate change leadership.
- Date: 11th December 2009
- Summary: NYERI, KENYA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CLEARED FORESTS UNKNOWN LOCATION, CAMEROON (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LOGS BEING TRANSPORTED ON TRUCKS / FORKLIFT TRUCKS CARRYING LOGS UNKNOWN LOCATION, MOZAMBIQUE (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FLOODED AREAS VARIOUS OF FLOOD VICTIMS RUNNING TOWARDS RESCUERS UNKNOWN LOCATION, SUDAN (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FAMINE VICTIMS VARIOUS OF MALNOURISHED CHILD MOUNT KILIMANJARO, TANZANIA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DECREASING SNOW AROUND PEAK OF MOUNTAIN
- Embargoed: 26th December 2009 12:00
- Topics: International Relations,Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVAC90EF8RREQD41U6CN2FRLW1I3
- Story Text: As U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, African representatives at Copenhagen appeal to him for climate change leadership.
A coalition of civil society organisations from across 43 African countries issued an appeal for U.S. President Barack Obama to take the lead on climate change on Thursday (December 10), as he prepared to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
African parliamentarians and members of civil society groups were joined by representatives from U.S. civil rights, human rights and environmental activist groups in Copenhagen.
A letter from them implores Obama to consider the impact of a two degree temperature rise in Africa.
"Your policy on climate change threatens not only our families but also your own. We implore you to not crush the dreams of our fathers. Sincerely, us, the African Civil Society," said Mithika Mwenda, Co-ordinator for Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) as he read the letter to reporters at a news briefing.
The representatives made an emotional appeal, arguing climate change was no longer just an environmental issue but one of social justice and human rights.
"He said 'Yes we can' and it was done. So why can we not extend 'Yes, we can' to changing the climate problems that Africans are facing, and other developing countries," said Augustine Njamnshi, of the PACJA steering committee for central Africa.
"I know it is us who are most impacted by the degradation that is happening to our planet. I know that we are the ones that are and will be hurt first and worst by climate change," added Kari Fulton, from the Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative.
Obama's top climate aides have promised "robust" negotiations towards a deal including contributions to a rich-country fund aimed at helping developing nations deal with climate change problems.
There have been discussions of a 10 billion USD annual fund for the next few years, which would be a down-payment towards what in the long-run could grow to hundreds of billions of dollars of support.
African leaders say their continent has been hit particularly hard by climate change -- and stands to suffer more if it continues unchecked -- because of the fragility of many African economies.
The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Monday (December 7), the opening day of the summit, that rich nations should commit 40 billion USD a year in new money to help Africa tackle global warming.
The December 7-18 Copenhagen conference has exposed deep differences between rich and poor nations on emissions cuts, legal details and climate aid.
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