Africa is unfairly suffering from global warming and must be able to sell carbon credits to grow in a "green fashion," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Bill Clinton's philanthropic summit on Thursday.
Climate change took center stage at the third annual Clinton Global Initiative sponsored by the former U.S. president, being held as the world's biggest polluters, including the United States and China, met at the State Department in Washington for talks on global warming.
"Africa contributed nothing to global warming because it failed to develop the way the rest of the world developed," Meles said. "Africa's capacity to cope with climate change is very weak. Therefore climate change could push the fragile economies and societies of Africa beyond the precipice."
Speaking on a panel with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.N. climate change envoy Gro Harlem Brundtland and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Meles said the "only realistic option" for Africa was sustainable growth, but money was needed to achieve that.
"The money has to come from the cap and trade mechanism," Meles said. "We did not pollute. We are being punished because of what you did and we deserve the right to sell carbon credits to you so we can use the money to promote green development in our countries," he said, drawing applause from the audience.
Under the Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming, rich countries can meet their emissions reduction targets by funding green energy development in poor countries in exchange for carbon credits.
$30 BILLION EMISSIONS MARKETBut the overall $30 billion emissions market has failed to help Africa, with China and India benefiting the most. World Bank data shows Africa accounted for 3 percent of the credits sold, compared with China's 61 percent share and India's 12 percent....MORE