After COP15 Copenhagen: Reactions from the African blogosphere

Since the close of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, press reactions have varied, ranging from guarded optimism to frustrated hand-wringing to indignant fury. Many commentators emphasized that though all nations will suffer from the effects of climate change, it is nations in Africa and the developing world who stand to lose most heavily if global warming continues unchecked — although it is developed nations who are primarily responsible for the emissions which created problem.

The conference in Copenhagen received broad media coverage, with reports both on the negotiations and on the many demonstrations, conferences, and other events which accompanied the summit. Yet, despite this flurry of international media attention, the African blogosphere has been relatively calm.

Congolese blogger Alex Engwete gave day-by-day analysis of the summit, predicting from the start that results would be unimpressive:

Nothing is going to happen in Copenhagen. I don't know where the designers had their heads but even their ill-conceived logo encapsulates visually the story: an untanglable entanglement of strands of contradictory interests. Maybe they thought the logo would mean, “We're all together in this predicament.” But I don't read it that way at all…


From Nigeria, StandTall-The Activist wrote about her fears for a future where climate change has become a reality:

I fear increase in conflict over land, over water, over natural resources as a result of human made global warming. I fear the survival of the future generation. I fear the survival of plants and animals as they are currently getting affected on a larger scale. I fear the effect of overpopulation on climate change.

Comments on her blog were more critical of the climate change agenda:

Much as I empathize with the do-gooders in Copenhagen, I cannot help but wonder at the extraordinary ability of we humans to deceive ourselves….
The so-called developed countries got where they are by destroying the earth and now they want to stop others from doing what they did.

Who are we deceiving?

Another reader agreed:

I see [“going green”] as a western idea to stop other countries/continents from attaining a great height. They are afraid that the developing continents might take over from them.

South African blogger Mike Taberner also wrote on the connection between climate change and economic growth:

What the global economy needs is growth, what the planet needs is a conscious effort to reduce the emissions…. We should not loose sight of the fact that the we still have the ultimate power to deliver results. Democracy means that we can elect our leaders and we can effect change through leadership change. I would urge you to begin to evaluate your current and future leaders on their climate policies. If the voter base moves in this direction then we will see the politicians move this way too.

Omar Basawad at Safari Notes took a different view, writing on the futility of looking to global leadership to solve the problem of climate change:

With the fiasco at Copenhagen, we now know that world leaders can not do much when it comes to Climate Change and other like problems that face humanity. Most world leaders are politicians who are more swayed by votes and economics than by doing what is right for humanity. The more powerful the leaders, the more they seem to be more interested in votes and economic profits.

Referencing an editorial published by 56 newspapers around the globe, Nick Wadhams wrote on the disconnect between world leaders and their citizens:

I don't see what would compel world leaders to base their actions on an editorial, even one that appeared in 56 newspapers. World leaders urge us to take action on things all the time, and we ignore them. We urge world leaders to take action on things, and they ignore us too. This thing has as much of a chance of changing the minds of world leaders as do the thousands of protesters who will smash windows and do silly things to “raise awareness” outside the summit hall.

Kenya Christian attributed the failure of the climate change agenda to the capitalist system:

Here you have rich nations who are supposed to be leading the way for the rest of the world, being the worst polluters on the planet.

…Climate Change just demonstrates the weaknesses in this so-called “best of bad systems” called capitalism; it can truly be a sick system. As in, humans are willing to take their planet to hell just to make a profit; it’s mind-boggling how short-sighted our species can be.

Cavenmasuku, blogging from Gweru, Zimbabwe, saw a silver lining in the outcome of the summit. In a post entitled, “The positive achievement of Copenhagen”, he wrote:

There is no longer any question that climate change is central to the political thinking of every country on the planet…

The vast campaigns run around the world in the run-up to Copenhagen…. have made addressing climate change widely understood and discussed from the pubs of rural England to the bars of Beijing.

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