Ethiopia on climate negotiation

April 25, 2019 Africa , Environment , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

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Abebe Wolde Giorgis



For the last 20 years countries through the corridor of the United Nations have conducted broad and intense negotiations in order to reduce emission gasses which cause climate change and global warming.


According to scientists’ studies the cause for climate change is gasses emitted from the industrial world given that the industrial revolution began in the 1850s. Carbon gasses accumulated in the stratosphere blocked sun rays which must be re-reflected from earth towards the sun.


Global warming more affects developing countries which have an insignificant role for emissions. As a result, drought, flood, soil erosion and the drying up of water points have become a recurrent phenomena.


It is obvious that the number one victim of climate change and global warming is the agricultural sector which is the backbone of developing countries’ economy. During drought season, due to the crop failure, farmers face severe consequences. In urban areas also food prices will sky rocket, moreover the situation hardens the countries’ struggle for poverty reduction. Hence to mitigate the problem scientists forward climate negotiation as solution for emission reduction. Side by side with this poor countries should mobilize local and international resources to strengthen the challenge through building their capacity.


Gebru Jenber is working in the International Green Development Institution as consultant and leads the 47 developing countries negotiators group as the major negotiator.


According to him climate negotiation is a concern of all countries. They have the right to express their opinion and be heard on the negotiation unilaterally or multilaterally. Nevertheless in order to raise their bargaining power they forward their stand together.


In line with this, it should be noticed that each country has the right to exercise its boycotting power, reject the resolution and if it express its discontent, the resolution will not be endorsed. Therefore it is essential to negotiating parties by whatever means to move towards to the common consensus.


As developing countries are the major victims of global warming they need to gain a lot from climate negotiations. Because of this they prefer to negotiate in groups rather than unilaterally. When they negotiate together their bargaining power will be strong.


According to Gebru the COP negotiations have been taking place for more than 20 years. The formulation of implementation modalities needs all countries’ willingness and agreement. Some countries show interest for the immediate preparation and implementation of the modalities but others want the modalities to be weak and contemporary and these indicate that there is conflict of interests between negotiating parties.


For the developing countries emission reduction is their priority agenda because if they lost the negotiation their development endeavor might clamp down. According to Gebru, the impact of climate change is very complicated and multi-dimensional. Emitted gasses stayed in the stratosphere for hundreds of years and even though the negotiating developed countries agreed to reduce their industries’ emission the impact will continue for long time.


Therefore, to mitigate global warming, utilizing new technologies for exploring and exploiting renewable energy is essential and to that end developing countries should get financial assistance from the developed countries.


However some countries which do not have an interest in financing developing countries climate efforts delay the implementation of the negotiations’ outcome. On the other hand oil exporting countries which see the expansion of the utilization of renewable energy as a threat to their lucrative market, try to put the matter to one side.


Other governments such as the United States, particularly the current president, totally denied the existence of global warming and climate change and warn that his country might withdraw from the Paris Agreement and such, potentially bringing negative consequences to negotiations.


The reflected stance from the United States. which is a major emitter, is shaky and could be a bad example to other countries which are committed to climate causes, effectively bringing the issue back to square one.


The other thing that should be mentioned here is that countries which are populous and major emitters, such as China and India, claim that though they emit more as compared to their population number, their per capita emission is insignificant even it is less than Namibia which has less than one million people.


They further argue that to them emission reduction might compromise their economic advancement. However it should be understood that climate change affects both poor and rich countries and no one is immune. Therefore coming to the negotiation table benefits all.


Climate negotiation rules and regulations stipulate developed countries, which are the major emitters, to report the amount of their reduced emitted gas to the negotiating parties and increase the rate of reduction from time to time. Developing countries on their part are required to do their homework with regard to adaptation and implementation mechanisms, in addition to enhancing the utilization of renewable energy to reduce their dependency on carbon based energy.


The rules do not simply perceive developing countries as a recipient of financial assistance of the developed world, rather they are part of the effort in creating a world free of pollution.


For example, Ethiopia is trying its level best to build Climate Resilient Green Economy and numerous efforts are undergoing which could be exemplary to others.


Rehabilitating barren lands, aforestation and proper land management can be mentioned here. As a result, underground waters are replenished, erosion is reduced and the fragile ecosystem is improved. Furthermore, the annual rate of carbon sequestration of forests is increasing which has brought about a positive impact globally.


In this regard Ethiopia could secure financial support from the government of Norway through the REDD+ program which is reducing emission from deforestation and land degradation and playing an exemplary role.


However, according to Gebru climate negotiation by its nature is politically confounded and parties come with their divergent interests. Therefore reconciling contrasts and coming to the middle is challenging.


Climate negotiation has been taking place in more than 10 countries with different topics. Among others these dwell on finance, technology, emission reduction, adaptation and mitigation. It is expected that the next negotiation outcomes pave the way for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.





Abebe Wolde Giorgis

Abebe Wolde Giorgis was born in Harar, Ethiopia. He has a B.A from Addis Ababa University in English Language and Literature, Minor History.

For 17 years he has been a Journalist in local and International Media, Amharic and also an English Newspaper.He wrote several articles on environment and economics.

Member of Environment journalist association, he was deputy editor in chief of an Amharic Newspaper and Senior Editor of the Ethiopian Herald.

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