What will African nations achieve at C0P-21?

On Monday, world leaders assembled for the kick off of the much anticipated, two-week long UN conference on global climate change, in Paris, where 195 countries are represented. The conference aims to save the planet by attempting to reach mutual agreements on the reduction of carbon emissions and a two degrees Celsius limit on global warming.

Before the climate talks began, the parties involved expressed their hopes and expectations. Besides the general focus on the impact of climate change on the planet, developing nations took front seat at the conference.

In addition, the conference will also address fair budgeting. According to City Lab, “rich countries are also expected to create a clear financial strategy to support developing nations as they mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

More specifically, Africa has been dubbed a key player at the COP-21, in terms of how climate change can impact the present quest for development, which is inextricably linked to a symbiotic relationship with the environment, through agriculture and renewable energy. “African Climate Talks” (ACT) held to this effect, weeks before the Paris conference where the continent agreed to a reduction of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Even with a history of unstable energy provision, poverty, and very little contribution to the current situation of earth’s climate, Africa has few bargaining chips at the climate table. According to the World Bank, Africa is already on the receiving end of the impact of climate change, with changing weather patterns, droughts, and rising sea levels. Additionally, the World Bank reports that 43 million more people could experience abject poverty by 2030, if caution is not applied.

World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, is asking that the continent not be left behind, and has urged African governments to fight against what he terms a moral issue concerning the elements involved in climate change.

Analysts and experts have demanded for Climate justice for Africa, which many feel has lagged in terms of investment in renewable energy, climate financing for the continent, terminating subsidized fossil fuels, as well as planning urban development with a reduction in pollution as a priority.

Reportedly, since the departure of the world leaders from the conference, the negotiations are already witnessing a diversion from the grand statements made on the first day which showed commitment to developing nations. However, the conference has only just begun and there is still hope for progress.

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