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Africa Hits at West on Climate Change Delays

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Bonn – As two weeks of acrimonious UN climate talks draw to a close, African observers were this week heavily critical of lack of movement on key issues.

The talks have been disrupted by Russia blocking on procedural issues in one track of negotiations ( the “SBI”), a technical body that was to discuss proposals for ‘loss and damage’ and the ‘review’ of whether the 2C temperature target should be lowered to 1.5C in light of the latest science.

At a press conference held during the talks Wednesday, hosted by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), an African-wide climate movement with over 300 organisations in 45 countries as members, Mithika Mwenda, PACJA’s coordinator said: “Governments need to look up from their legal and procedural tricks and focus on the planetary emergency that is hitting Africa first and hardest.”

“Russia’s shenanigans have set back critical work on loss and damage mechanisms and so now Poland, as host of the next summit, must find a way to ensure this issue is dealt with fully,” said Mwenda,.

Azeb Girmai of LDC-Watch, a global alliance of civil society groups based in the least developed countries, said: “Local communities are already actively engaged in responding to climate change. We have no choice: weather patterns are already changing, we are facing both extreme and slow onset events, and our livelihoods are threatened. We are calling for the international community to actively engage.”

Another expert, Kate Dooley – a consultant on market mechanisms for the Third World Network – added:   “It’s frightening that while loss and damage was put on the back-burner, the European Union continued to push its failed experiment of market mechanisms.”

Said Dooley: “We’ve seen many governments in Bonn call for a review of the current failed carbon markets to see what went wrong, why they haven’t actually reduced emissions and why they haven’t raised finance on a significant scale. If we don’t learn these lessons we’ll be doomed to repeat these environmentally and financially risky schemes, at the cost of real action to reduce emissions.”

Robert Chimambo, Southern African co-ordinator of PACJA accused rich countries such as the United States for not taking their “fair share” of emission cuts or finance for adaptation.

He said: “Yet we have seen them continue with their preposterous position that a de-regulated, do-what you like international system of climate controls will work. It won’t, it will only make it worse.”

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