Durban, South Africa --- ESI-AFRICA.COM --- 28 November 2011 - The 15 000 delegates to the UN climate change conference convening in Durban today provide an opportunity for the global community to reach a binding agreement towards the common goal of rescuing the planet, but deep divisions remain on the way forward.
South Africa "’ host of what is formally known as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change "’ is keen to demonstrate its commitment to combating global warming with numerous green projects, initiatives and programmes.
The conference will continue negotiations towards a global consensus on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.
Meanwhile allAfrica.com, citing “The Times of Zambia”, reports that African negotiators fear that developed Western nations "’ responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that have caused heat, droughts and destruction to the ozone layer because of increased industrialisation "’ will refuse to agree to a deal proposing that they should release adequate resources for adaptation to defuse a further collapse to their economies.
The conference takes place at a time when countries such as Zambia have already experienced unpredictable weather patterns that have interchanged between droughts and floods and conversely, extreme heat and extreme cold.
This is why Zambian minister of environmental protection Nkandu Luo has been emphatic on the need for all Africans to speak as one, because such challenges are shared by all poor nations.
Luo is one of thousands of African citizens who have signed a petition that will be presented to the conference in Durban. The petition is a parallel activity set aside by the African civil society organisations to encourage ordinary citizens to be participants at the conference in absentia.
Several non-governmental organisations travelled by road from Kigali and passed through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and eventually South Africa, asking people to sign the petition demanding fair play from nations that had polluted the air to cause harm for African nations.
Luo said Africa was not begging the developed nations, but they should do what was humanly expected. She claimed that history already recognised Western nations as very unfair countries with the people of Africa, because they had removed slaves and used them as tools to develop their industries after which they had colonised them.
“After doing all this, these same countries are now destroying the environment and they are refusing to pay for adaptation. Why should Africans pay for crimes they have not committed?” she asked.