LDCs challenge Obama on climate change

HARARE, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- The 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the United Nations climate change negotiations have challenged recently re-elected US President Barack Obama to commit more to efforts aimed at addressing effects of the phenomenon.

In an open letter to Obama, LCD chair Pa Ousman Jarju said Obama had failed to live up to the promises he made towards climate change efforts during his first term as US president, Zimbabwe news agency New Ziana reported.

"When you were first elected president, your words gave us hope that you would become an international leader on climate change. But you have not lived
up to this promise," Jarju said.

Jarju said in contrast to their commitment, wealthy countries, including the US, had only availed US$1.5 billion to assist poor countries adapt to new climate realities while over US$400 million was spent on subsidies for fossil fuel industries.

"They gave the main contributors to human-caused climate change more than 250 times the support they offered those whom it harms most," he said.

Jarju said with the history that the US has had in dealing with natural disasters, most recently super storm Sandy, Obama should appreciate that poor countries did not have the resources to effectively handle such occurrences.

"We are only 12 percent of the world's population, but we suffer the effects f climate-related disasters more than five times as much as the world," he said.

Jarju said it was critical that climate change be addressed as a matter of urgency instead of delayed proposals made in Copenhagen in 2009 which spoke of 2020 strategies.

"Having wealthy nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions steeply is fundamental, but helping the poorest of us cope with its impacts is an immediate necessity," he said.

Members of LDCs include Afghanistan, Angola, Malawi, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda and Zambia.