Africa blasts US withdrawal from climate change accord

Mpho Tebele

Gaborone -A number of African countries have voiced their displeasure at the United State’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Accord.

The accord was muted in France in 2015. At the time a number of developing countries which are reportedly responsible for emitting greenhouses among them USA agreed to keep rising global temperatures to below the pre-industrial 2C level.

Observers say the Paris Accord, which to date has been ratified by 147 State Parties, remains a laudable commitment by the international community aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in order to achieve sustainable development.

Botswana has issued a statement expressing regret at the decision of the government of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“Considering the critical leadership role played by the United States of America in the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, the decision to withdraw at this stage will definitely have adverse consequences on its effective implementation,” reads the statement.

However, Botswana commended the position recently taken by some advanced economies like China, Russia, Germany, France, Italy and other countries in the European Union (EU) bloc, as well as other countries for their unequivocal assurance to honour their commitments to the Paris Climate Change Accord. Botswana urged the government of the United States of America to reconsider its position, and continue playing its rightful role within the international community in saving our planet for future generations. In a statement, Nigeria also expressed disappointment with the decision of the United States of America to pull out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change.

Nigeria, which believes the deal is for the common good of humanity, said it would continue to implement its commitment to the Paris climate accord.

South Africa also did not have kind words for the US’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Accord.

In a statement it said the Paris agreement represents the most flexible and dynamic approach to addressing climate change, and the withdrawal of the USA is not only an abdication of global responsibility “we all have to humankind, but damaging to multilateralism, the rule of law and trust between nations”.

“We recognise the outstanding contribution made to the fight against climate change in the US by past administrations, states, cities, scientific organisations, civil society, business and individual citizens.

South Africa therefore calls on the United States to reconsider its position and to re-commit to the multilateral process,” reads the statement. Namibia’s Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta described the US decision as a major blow to the efforts to tackle global warming. “This withdrawal has undermined the significance of the Paris Agreement and efforts that have been made, in particular by developing countries such as Namibia, to reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” Shifeta said in a statement.

Zambia’s Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection Lloyd Kaziya reportedly said the planned withdraw was a blow to developing countries who were adversely being affected by the negative effects of climate change.

“It is a serious tragedy because we need these super powers to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

Right now we are struggling to get financing from the Green Climate Fund and the decision by the US will just worsen the situation,” Kaziya is quoted as saying.

Former President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama also joined the chorus in accusing the US of abdicating its global responsibility to lead the world out of what it calls a lingering crisis caused by climate change.

He lashed out at US President Donald Trump over his decision to opt out of the Paris climate agreement signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

In a series of tweets in reaction to America opting out, Mahama said “We all worked hard to reach the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. US contributes 20% of CO2 pollution in the atmosphere.”

Isaac Kalua, chairman of Kenya’s Water Towers Agency and founder of Green Africa is quoted as saying that Trump’s decision could have political implications. The agency promotes environmental protection in Kenya through mobilizing communities at the grassroots level.

Reports indicate that Trump had long criticised the 2015 agreement, claiming it would force the country to abandon its world-leading reserves of coal and create considerable job loss.

Nearly 150 countries have ratified the Paris climate agreement, representing over 80 percent of global emissions.  Nicaragua and Syria are among the only countries that have not signed the agreement.

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June 2017
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