They Are Listening

10 Dec

The following is the speech delivered by Sylvia Wachira, from the Clean Energy and Safe Environment Initiative during the 4th meeting for the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) on December 10:

I am speaking as a member of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance and Climate Justice Now!

Africa stands on the frontline of climate change. It is a cruel irony indeed that a people who have lived for so long in harmony with nature are now suffering the disastrous effects of greenhouse gases emitted by developed countries.

For over two centuries the industrialized world became wealthy by drenching the atmosphere in carbon and plundering resources from every region of the world.

The current proposal and pledges by Annex I Parties are supposedly aimed at limiting global warming to 2 degrees. They will not, and 2 degrees is a death sentence for Africa.  According to the IPCC, Africa will warm by more than the average global level. 2 degrees globally means 3 or more degrees for my continent.

Such an increase in temperature would lead to widespread devastation.

It will lead to massive reduction in crop yields in some areas, cutting food outputs in half. More than 600 million people left without adequate water supplies. Our coastlines, villages and cattle will be ravaged. Literally millions of people will die.

The injustice does not stop here. Based on Annex I Parties current proposals and pledges, the 20% of people living in developed countries would consume over 60% of the Earth’s atmospheric space while the 80% who are poor will be consigned to live within the remaining 40%.  You are literally stealing from us the very sky over our heads.

A mere $10 billion is proposed under the Convention negotiations in so-called short-term financing, while the rich countries seek to appropriate from poor countries an atmospheric resource worth trillions. Your 10 billion will not be enough to buy our coffins.

We are expected to accept this deal. Worse still we are expected to celebrate this as success.

We will not.

This grab of our shared atmospheric resource is nothing less than climate colonialism.

Yesterday, African civil society marched alongside Parliamentarians from across the continent chanting: “Two degrees is suicide” and “One Africa, One Degree”.  You must all be absolutely clear: we will not die in silence.

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One Response to “They Are Listening”

  1. connie December 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    I believe what is being talked about is a global Cap and Trade system, which will not work long-term.

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