Developing countries to be worse hit by climate change

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lagos - The World Bank has predicted that the current climate change will worsen the poverty situation in developing countries.

In its Development Report previewing 2010 released on Wednesday, the bank said climate change would make it harder for developing countries to cultivate and feed their population.

"Climate change threatens all countries, with developing countries the most vulnerable. Estimates are that they would bear some 75 to 80 percent of the costs of damages caused by the changing climate.

"Even two-degree centigrade warming above pre-industrial temperatures, the minimum the world is likely to experience could result in permanent reductions in Gross Domestic Product of 4 to 5 percent for Africa and South Asia," the report stated.

According to the report, most developing countries lacked sufficient financial and technical capacities to manage increasing climate risk.

"They also depend more directly on climate-sensitive natural resources for income and well-being, most are in tropical and sub-tropical regions already subject to highly variable climate," the report said.

It further said that climate change threatened the collective effort in ensuring poverty reduction and sustainable development, which remained core global priorities.

"A quarter of the population of developing countries still lives on less than $1.25 dollars a day. One billion people lack clean drinking water, 1.6 billion people lack electricity and 3 billion lack adequate sanitation," the report stated.

It called for climate-smart policies to enhance development, reduce vulnerability, and finance the transition to low-carbon growth paths.

On Tuesday, South Africa's Environmental Affairs Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica said the country was committed to reducing its emission of greenhouse gases, but for the country to achieve this, it would require extensive international financial and technical support.

Africa is currently preparing to take part in the next round of negotiations on climate change to take place in Copenhagen on 15 December.

The African Union has agreed to send a single delegation of 10 countries to represent Africa in the conference, but Sonjica said while this was the case South Africa will pursue its right to have its interest protected during the conference.

"South Africa is committed in doing its fair share to ensure that the December climate change talks produce a deal that will be favorable to develop and developing countries," she said.

South Africa is aware of its contribution to global greenhouse gases which are attributed to the country's heavy reliance on coal powered electricity.

"However, we are committed to taking responsible action to reduce our emissions. Over the long term, we will redefine our competitive advantage and structurally transform the economy from an energy intensive to a climate friendly one," the minister said.