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Raila calls for climate change projects

CAPE TOWN, May 6 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on African countries to come up with projects that would qualify for funds agreed on during the Climate Change negotiations in Copenhagen and Cancun ahead of the next climate conference to be held in Durban, South Africa.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Climate Change in Cape Town, Mr Odinga said a cycle of blame is beginning to emerge over the funding.

He said developed countries, which are supposed to provide most of the funding, are saying Africa has not tabled bankable projects that qualify for funding while developing countries are complaining that the money pledged in Copenhagen and Mexico are not being released.

During panel discussions featuring Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Ali Bongo Ondiba of Gabon, among others, Mr Odinga said the next climate talks, to be held in Cape Town, must achieve more tangible results than previous ones in Copenhagen and Cancun.

He asked African countries to explore projects in geothermal, solar and wind power generation and submit them for possible funding under the climate change deals.

Mr Odinga said the rising prices of oil and food across the globe is related to climate change, among other factors.

The PM said that because of changing climatic patterns, more land is increasingly producing less food or none at all while growing economies are looking for more oil to power their growth.

Mr Odinga said this realisation is driving Kenya to explore more in the field of green energy and was the driving force behind the recently signed Paris-Nairobi Initiative on Clean Energy for Africa.

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He said rising cost of food and fuel should propel the world to fund alternative sources of energy and contain the impact of climate change.

Mr Odinga asked South Africa, which will be hosting the next climate talks, to stand firm in demanding funding for Africa.

President Zuma called for a united front by Africa ahead of the climate talks.

He challenged countries to come up with specifics for the conference to avoid a pattern where leaders meet every year to discuss climate change but leave without tangible results.

Mr Bongo on his part said the continent can finance a good number of climate initiatives if it gets it priorities right, adding that a cut on spending on arms could free considerable resources to finance climate change initiatives.

Mr Odinga arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday night and is due to address another panel on whether more voting has meant more or less democracy in Africa.

He returns to Nairobi on Friday.

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