Protesters call on Gordon Brown to stop financing Ethiopia's ruthless tyrant
Ethiomedia | March 31, 2010

Ethiopians on Wednesday called on Mr. Gordon Brown to stop financing Meles Zenawi who committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. "Gordon Brown: What will be your legacy?" chanted the protesters (Ethiomedia file photo of London protesters in 2006)
Gordon Brown and Meles Zenawi
LONDON - MARCH 31: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L) is pictured with Ethiopia's dictator Meles Zenawi (R) as he hosts the Climate Finance Group at 10 Downing Street on March 31, 2010 in London, England. Brown and Zenawi co-chair the high-level advisory group on climate change financing, that was launched in February (Getty Images Europe)
LONDON - Hundreds of Ethiopians on Wednesday said Ethiopia's ruthless tyrant Meles Zenawi deserves to stand before the International Criminal Court in The Hague and not represent Africa at the Climate Talks.

The protesters called on Western governments to stop extending aid to a man who has held a nation of over 80 million people hostage to his divisive and destructive politics of ethnicity.

The activists, who included elders and youths braving a severe London weather, chanted that history will judge [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown, for financing someone who has committed genocide, perpetuated repression and poverty. The demonstrators also called for the release of Birtukan Mideksa, the prominent opposition leader widely regarded as the female Mandela of Ethiopia but has been thrown in jail for over a year.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been in power since 1991, when he single-handedly lobbied for UN support to recognize Ethiopia as a landlocked nation, and has ever since committed serious crimes, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and what is known as the Gambella Genocide.

In the aftermath of the 2005 election, Zenawi forces killed at least 200 protesters in Addis Ababa while jailing the entire opposition leadership, and ran five detention camps each of which housed tens of thousands of opposition supporters, a measure very harsh even by African standards.

UN official expects no climate deal until 2011

By Arthur Max, AP

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- A new legal agreement committing nations around the world to curb greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to be completed before the end of 2011, two years later than originally envisioned, the top U.N. climate official said Wednesday.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. climate change secretariat, said countries need to restore confidence in U.N. negotiations following the dismal results of the Copenhagen summit in December, which ended in a vague agreement of principles and a pledge of finances for poor countries most threatened by climate change.

"There was a great deal of frustration at the end of the Copenhagen conference in terms of process," de Boer said in a conference call with reporters from his office in Bonn, Germany.

The next annual conference in Cancun, Mexico, beginning in November should get negotiations "back on track" among the 194 participating nations, with the aim of agreeing on the main elements that could be enshrined in a binding agreement a year later in South Africa, de Boer said.

"My hope is that Cancun will deliver what I had hoped Copenhagen would deliver," said de Boer, who is resigning July 1 after nearly three years in office.

Negotiators will convene in Bonn next week for the first time since 120 heads of state and government met in the Danish capital. The weekend conference was expected to do little more than set a timetable for several more preparatory conferences leading up to the Cancun conference.

De Boer urged the negotiators at the Bonn meeting to stop discussing key issues in isolation and to take a holistic approach toward adapting to climate change, deforestation, transferring technology to poor countries and curbing carbon emissions.

"These topics need to be taken together in the context of their interdependence," he said, hoping to accelerate a process noted for its sluggishness.

Formal U.N. negotiations were set in motion in 2007 to reach a deal within two years that would succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set targets for 37 industrial countries to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions blamed for raising the Earth's average temperature.

Scientists warn that global warming will cause disruptions in agriculture, increase water shortages and could lead to a dramatic rise in sea levels and coastal flooding if the arctic ice sheets melt.

The Copenhagen Accord, a three-page deal salvaged in the closing hours of the summit, set a goal of limiting global temperatures to less than a 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above preindustrial levels, but didn't say how that should be achieved. It pledged $3 billion over the next three years for poor countries to adapt to climate change and asked countries to submit pledges for curbing their carbon emissions.

On Wednesday, the U.N. climate secretariat released its official report on the Copenhagen conference and listed voluntary commitments from 75 industrial and developing countries to reduce or limit the growth of their emissions by 2020. The report said those countries represented 80 percent of global emissions from energy use.

De Boer said the commitments fell short of the cuts needed to keep the Earth's temperature from rising more than 2 degrees.

Negotiators had originally set 2009 as the target date for a new climate treaty to allow time for ratification and ensure a seamless transition when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Failure to replace Kyoto in time could lead to a legal gap when no binding rules are in place.

But De Boer said he expected countries to continue their climate change policies with or without a new accord. If a deal can be reached in South Africa, "we will have made it in time."

In London on Wednesday, Prime Ministers Gordon Brown of Britain and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia were chairing the first meeting of the U.N. Climate Finance Group, which will discuss ways to raise and distribute the short-term financing promised in Copenhagen for countries that need to quickly adapt to changing climate conditions.

The Copenhagen Accord, brokered by President Barack Obama, also envisioned $100 billion dollars annually from 2020 to fight climate change and its impacts on developing nations.

FACTBOX: The Coppenhagen Accord and global warming

REUTERS - Following are details of the Copenhagen Accord for fighting global warming after the United Nations published on Wednesday a first formal list of more than 110 countries as formal backers.

The non-binding deal, worked out at a 194-nation summit in December, was only "noted" at the time after objections by some developing nations. The United Nations then asked all countries to say if they wanted to be listed as backers of the deal

The list of supporters includes major emitters led by China, the United States, the European Union, Russia and India.

Following are main details of the Accord:

TEMPERATURES - Governments will work to combat climate change "recognising the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius" (3.6 Fahrenheit). Temperatures have already risen by about 0.7 Celsius since before the Industrial Revolution.

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS - The Accord does not set greenhouse gas goals for reaching the 2 degrees C target except to urge "deep cuts in global emissions" and to say that a peak in global emissions should be "as soon as possible". Many developing nations had wanted the rich to cut emissions by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 -- rich nations' promised cuts so far average about 14-18 percent.

ADAPTATION - The Accord promises to help countries adapt to the damaging impacts of climate change such as droughts, storms or rising sea levels, "especially least developed countries, small island developing states and Africa." It also says all countries face challenges of adapting to "response measures" -- OPEC nations, for instance, argue they should be compensated if responses mean a shift from oil to wind or solar power.

2020 TARGETS - In an annex, rich nations list national goals for cuts in greenhouse gases and developing nations set out actions to slow the rise of emissions by 2020. In December, a leaked U.N. overview showed that, taken together, they imply a temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius, not 2.

VERIFICATION - Developed nations will submit emissions goals for U.N. review. Developing nations' actions will be under domestic review if funded by their budgets but "subject to international measurement, reporting and verification" when funded by foreign aid. In Copenhagen, China resisted foreign review while the United States said it was vital.

DEFORESTATION - The text sees a "crucial role" for slowing deforestation -- trees store carbon dioxide as they grow.

MARKETS - The accord says countries will "pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets" to curb emissions.

AID - Developed nations promise new and additional funds "approaching $30 billion for 2010-12" to help developing countries. In the longer term, "developed countries commit to a goal of mobilising jointly $100 billion a year by 2020". Last month, the United Nations set up a high level panel, led by Britain and Ethiopia, to study sources of finance.

GREEN FUND - Countries will set up a "Copenhagen Green Climate Fund" to help channel aid. The deal will also set up a "Technology Mechanism" to accelerate use of green technolgoies.

REVIEW - The accord will be reviewed in 2015, including whether the temperature goal should be toughened to 1.5 degrees Celsius. An alliance of 101 least developed countries and small island states want temperatures to rise less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

(Compiled by Alister Doyle in Oslo, Editing by Dominic Evans) - An African-American news and views website.
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