Society - East Africa - Ethiopia - United States - Environment
Ethiopian petition on climate change sent to Barack Obama
A petition collected from two million Ethiopian’s urging America to take the lead on the coming climate negotiations has been sent to the US President Barack Obama.

The petition, which was submitted to the US embassy in Addis Ababa two weeks ago, was launched by the Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change. The campaign began on October 27 under the auspices of the Forum for Environment.

The United States is one of the world’s top greenhouse gases emitters, however, the country is yet to pass a binding legislation that will limit emissions blamed for the increasing climate oriented disasters in Africa, particularly in the Eastern African region.

“A bill continues to languish in the Senate and we suspect that it is unlikely to be passed before the end of the year,” Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change stated in its press release.

Early this year, analysts had insisted that the legislation; sought for by environmentalists before the end of this year was unlikely, as the United States, which holds the highest negotiating power on the international scene, is still struggling to pass a bill on carbon emissions through its Senate.

Indeed, the United States, which is not a member of the Kyoto Protocol but remains an important figure in the debate over climate change, has struggled to pass domestic laws that will reduce carbon emissions due to financial constraints, albeit President Obama’s pro-environmentalist position.

The Copenhagen climate summit will end without an agreement, unless Obama’s administration endorses the bill very quickly. A position that will play a vital role in the climate negotiations. According to the network’s release the Ethiopian petition is to urge the US government to act fast.

The Senate is, reportedly, finding it particularly difficult to put more financial strain on Americans after the damages caused by the financial meltdown. The bill which calls for carbon taxes as well as the replacement, transformation and construction of infrastructure to hold more renewable energy sources are likely to cost more than 1,000 dollars per household per year.

Lawmakers from some US states with economies tied to fossil fuels have not been too keen to endorse bills for renewable energy sources which could see their individual state economies affected.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi early this year stated that although Africa’s "contribution to global warming is negligible," most its states have been left to deal with the adverse effects of climate change caused by rich and developed nations.

According to Reuters "U.S. climate legislation has stalled in the Senate, with Democratic leaders not expecting a vote on the bill until early spring."


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