For the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, COP 21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference hopes to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. The conference has attracted delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.
Africa ought to be commended for being concerned with the effects of climate change on the continent and seeking to front a common African position. It is true that Africa bears the brunt of climate change despite the fact that it contributes less than 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. African negotiators demand that developed nations cushion the continent from the adverse effects of climate change; provide institutional strengthening and human resource development in Africa to help address challenges brought about by climate change impacts; and allow Africa access renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.
While Africa’s leaders demand compensation, they must also look inward and take internal measures. It is no secret that developed nations’ affluence has made them environment-conservation conscious. African citizens on the other hand are too engrossed in fighting hunger, disease and oppressive government regimes, to think about the ‘luxury’ of climate change. As world leaders and experts figure out how to handle the threats posed by climate change, it is imperative that African leaders address factors that keep African populations from producing wealth.