Out of all of the regions in the world, Africa stands to lose the most from climate change. Already, droughts, floods, disease and agricultural shortages spurred by the current .6 degrees of warming have taken a serious human toll. For most countries -- many of which have already endorsed the 350ppm target -- climate change is a life or death issue. That's why at a recent African Union summit, leaders and environmental ministers came together to discuss what Africa's "minimum demands" will be out of this December's Copenhagen climate talks. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, eleceted to speak on behalf of the AU outlined the series of demands listed below:
* Developed countries should commit 0.5 per cent of their GDP for climate action in developing countries
* Better climate change adaptation fund from developed countries worth US$67 billion per year by 2020.
* Deployment, diffusion and transfer of technology to developing countries, based on principles of accessibility, affordability, appropriateness and adaptability.
* Rich nations need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 to 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.
It's clear that what African countries are demanding is nothing short of a bold, just agreement that puts us on the path to an equitable, 350ppm future, and guards against dangerous climate change. It is unclear whether the threat to walk out will put more pressure on developed countries to create a stronger agreement, or whether it will marginalize African delegates as Copenhagen approaches.
Beyond this unequivocal statement from African governments, the rest of the world must hear from African people all over the continent. That's why Bill McKibben is visiting South Africa right now, speaking to civil society and faith leaders, students, government officials and the media, spreading the word about the 350.org International Day of Climate Action.
Already, there are events planned in every corner of the continent. Here's what George Bepete, an October 24 Organizer from Zimbabwe, had to say about attending Bill's talk in Johannesburg yesterday:
Bill McKibben was at University of the Witwatersrand today, and he gave a talk entitled The Urgency of Time. He talked of about the need to continue mobilising our comunities for the 24th of October activities. And there was a time for people to share about their planned activities...amazing stories i heard today!
The scientific community supports 350! and there is no other thing as powerful as a movement armed with scientific facts.
Its now our turn to let our leaders at the comunity, national, regional and international levels to know that we are concerned about the state of our mother earth. This we will achieve through our actions on the 24th of October! Lets make our voices heard!