Kenya's president calls on global polluters to be held accountable.
Kenyan President William Ruto said on Sunday (Feb. 19) that wealthy nations be held accountable for contributing to global warming and that international financial institutions be reformed to properly combat climate change.
Despite being the least responsible for carbon emissions, poorer countries, particularly those in Africa, have been impacted disproportionately hard by the consequences of climate change, which has exacerbated droughts and flooding.
In an interview on the occasion of the African Union conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where climate change is a key theme, Ruto said the time was ripe for a "paradigm shift".
"We've reached a point where we don't have any alternatives," he told AFP.
He urged wealthy nations and financial institutions to begin seeing Africa as a "asset" in climate discussions.
"We want an accountable system that holds those who harm the environment accountable. "It is corrupt if it is not accountable," Ruto said, adding that Africa should not be regarded as "beggars." "in climate discussions.
For years, African nations have demanded that the world's leading polluters pay for the "loss and damage" caused by their emissions.
The most recent round of UN climate negotiations, held in Egypt last year, agreed on a fund to pay the expenses incurred by developing nations as a result of climate-related natural catastrophes and consequences such as rising sea levels. Activists, however, claim that the fund is still empty.
Yet, more must be done, including a strategy to limit planet-warming emissions from fossil fuels, according to Ruto, who leads the African leaders' climate change group.
"Continuing the impunity of turning on fossil fuels, turning on coal as is occurring now endangers the entire world," Ruto added.
"We can't be so careless. We cannot be apathetic."
According to Kenya's president, Africa must be considered as a crucial partner, and the global financial system must be changed if any results are to be accomplished.
"Emitters and polluters have greater development rates than we do... are those that have contributed the least pollution punished?"
During the meeting on Saturday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said African countries were confronted with a "dysfunctional and unjust" global financial system that charged them "extortionate" interest rates.
Droughts, floods, storms, and heat waves, according to scientists, will only get greater and more common as a result of global warming.
According to UN estimates, some 22 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are at risk of becoming hungry as a result of the worst drought in four decades.
Residents in the affected areas, who primarily rely on herding and subsistence farming for a living, are witnessing their sixth consecutive bad rainy season since the end of 2020.
"We haven't been loud enough. We haven't been vocal enough about this, "Ruto stated.
Among other things, African leaders are convening in Addis Abeba to address the continent's record drought and to relaunch a stalled free trade agreement on the continent of 1.4 billion people.
Guterres also stated on Saturday that Africa was facing "enormous testing... on nearly every front," and that it was bearing the weight of many crises that it had nothing to do with causing.
"With every flood, drought, hunger, and heatwave faced on our continent, the stark unfairness of climate change is on clear display," he continued.
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