South African President Kgalema Motlanthe urged African governments to do more work on climate change which threatens to unravel the lives of millions of people across the continent.
Mr. Motlanthe also called on the countries of the world to work in harmony in order to resolve the problem of climate change.
“Africa is one of the regions least responsible for climate change, but it is the most affected and least able to afford the costs of adaptation,” the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian quoted him. “”We must act. We owe it to the millions of people who will be directly affected.”
The issue of climate changes and its impacts has been the least of priorities for many African countries which are faced with numerous socio-economic and political challenges.
In addition, African government lack the financial wherewithal for technical innovation that have often been bandied as the solution to the problems presented by climate change.
In itself, South Africa is the largest emitter on the continent and depends on coal for 90% of its electricity needs. Moves to diversify to other energy sources have stalled due to a lack of policy framework and incentives for investors.
Mr. Motlanthe was quoted as saying that the problem of climate represented an opportunity to deal with the economic meltdown unraveling across the globe.
“As with climate change, this [economic crisis] is largely a crisis that is not of our own making but one which, like climate change, will affect us all and the poorest the most,” he said.
“For us in South Africa, the climate change challenge is therefore not only one of climate stabilisation, but it is ultimately also about combating poverty and promoting healthy livelihoods, energy security and sustainable development.”
Mr. Motlanthe stressed that the worst impact of climate change could be avoided if the rest of the world took up the challenge and acted in a united fashion.