Africa’s position within the global efforts to reverse the damaging effects of climate change came out quite clearly.
It became clear that as a continent we are a hugely marginalized group. The ‘consensus’ reached was largely skewed in favour of the West, who are the main culprits.
Those vulnerable such as the African masses have largely been ignored. Meanwhile the culprits in this dilemma will probably continue unabated with abusing the climate system.
The $100bn compensation package announced for the vulnerable underlies the deep division between the West and Africa.
This tension should be taken by Africans as a reality that they have actually been short changed.
What is quite clear at this moment after this conference is that Africa will continue to suffer from our weakness in the international fora. Its poor masses will be made poorer by its disadvantaged position.
Nothing has really changed. If anything the situation will worsen. The rich nations seem to be keen on kicking out the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which had established a basic structure and mechanism for arresting the damaging effects of climate change.
Right now there seemed to have been no real gains made in terms of both parties making more concrete advancements in emissions cuts or even compensation.
Africa did not get what it wanted in as far as compensation is concerned.
What our leaders ought to bear in mind right now is an urgent need to develop a home grown solution. The poor should not be left out to die a natural death.
The agreement reached at Copenhagen means that within the medium term Africa will continue to bear the brunt, driving its poor into greater levels of poverty.
With over 70 percent largely dependent on agriculture Africa will be left more exposed than ever. Rising temperatures will take a bigger toll on the lives of its citizens.
For instance more malarial incidences within East African will be registered while floods will wipe out livelihoods within its coastal shorelines and other water bodies.
While counting our losses after this global debate, our leaders need to ask questions that are normally placed to those who lead. What needs to be done in such a dire situation? The stakes are indeed very high.
The options are clear. Africans cannot talk about the new dawn, the ‘African Renaissance’, without looking at ways of coming to terms with this climate absurdity.
One way of this is a continental fight bringing in human advancement and environmental sustainability in the most African way possible.
Already good news is that African leaders have woken up to this reality of being marginalized by the West. Our leaders are now talking about coming up with a trust fund with a seed capital of US$3 Billion to be managed by the African Development Bank to arrest this situation.
I am sure that one way of looking at the best approaches will be through studying closely the very many Carbon Funds already in existence in the west.
The World Bank can come in handy in this respect by assisting African Development Bank with deploying the knowledge assets it has accumulated while developing its own numerous Carbon Trust Funds.
Contributors to the fund can be quite diverse. There are various African financial resources such as sovereign funds that can be called in to assist. These resources can be used in the spirit of saving our planet by contributing into this novel African climate fund.
In bringing them on board attractive terms of returns can be worked out. It is possible to have a home grown solution worked out. Only if our leaders walk the talk.
Fred Oluoch-Ojiwah is a journalist with The New Times