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NEWS: UN secretary-general links climate change and Horn of Africa crisis

The Associated Press reports, “United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that urgent action was needed on climate change, pointing to the famine in the Horn of Africa and devastating floods in northern Australia as examples of the suffering caused by global warming. …Drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa have left millions of lives at risk, and extreme weather events such as severe flooding that devastated northern Australia earlier this year will only grow more frequent as climate change accelerates, Ban warned. …Ban has repeatedly highlighted the issue of climate change during his South Pacific tour, which comes ahead of a major climate summit in Durban, South Africa, in November. Delegates from 193 nations will try to hammer out a global agreement to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases…”

For Maude Barlow’s recent commentary on the crisis in the Horn of Africa, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10117. She wrote, “Deserts do not arise from a lack of rain but because humans treat land and water badly. Desertification is taking place in over 100 countries in the world, as we strip the land of land-based water from aquifers and rivers, sending it to thirsty mega-cities, who dump it untreated into oceans, or using it to grow food and other goods for the world market, where it is transported out of local watersheds in the form of virtual water exports.”

In May 2010, Sun Media reported, “UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was in Ottawa to meet with government leaders ahead of next month’s G8 and G20 summits in Ontario, said he wants Canada to comply with Kyoto. ‘I urge Canada to comply with the targets set out by the Kyoto Protocol,’ he told a large crowd at the Chateau Laurier. ‘The science is sobering. Both the planet and the calendar are telling us that we are running out of time.’” Canada had pledged under the Kyoto accord to a 6 per cent cut in emissions below 1990 levels by 2012. Despite that legally-binding pledge, our greenhouse gas emissions actually increased by about 26 per cent between 1990 and 2007. In December 2010 at the climate summit in Cancun, Executive Secretary of the Conference of Parties Christina Figueres named Canada as one of three countries working to block the second round of emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

According to the United Nations, more than 12 million people face starvation in the Horn of Africa (including Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Uganda). Tens of thousands have already died. Rather than committing to water and climate justice, the Harper government has merely promised to match the donations of individual Canadians to relief charities.