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Daily Review
Special> United Nations Climate Change Conference> Daily Review
UPDATED: December 11, 2009
Africa Group Battles for Common Position at Copenhagen Climate Conference

The African Group at the ongoing climate change conference in Copenhagen is faced with an uphill battle to come up with a common position as the talks enter their fourth day.

Various delegations are working day and night to save the talks from collapse as divisions begin to emerge as to whether developing countries should agree on a 2 degree threshold proposed by industrialized countries such as the European Union or stick to Tuvalu's proposal of 1.5 degrees.

Some African countries believe that a threshold of 1.5 degrees would spell doom for most of them because climate change would hit them the hardest.

Since Wednesday the African group has been arranging press conferences to proclaim its position on climate change but none of the events materialized and were all cancelled at the last minutes.

The group was supposed to hold a press conference Thursday but it, too, was cancelled without any reasons given.

That could be a sign that the African countries are divided and do not want to address the media without a consensus position on what they hope to achieve during the Copenhagen talks.

A delegate who asked to remain anonymous said that generally the Africa group was not happy with the manner in which the Copenhagen conference was progressing, but the challenge now is how they should demonstrate their displeasure.

"At first there was a proposal to boycott but we later agreed to continue showing our unhappiness at the snail pace of the talks," he said.

In addition to this, the indefinite postponements could also be a sign that political considerations are now getting in the way of science and these could only be resolved by the high level segment next week.

A second argument that has been touted as reason for the lack of common position and ready text among African countries is the proposal by some developed countries to delay a binding agreement to a future date.

African countries are very wary of this suggestion as it would make the cost of both adaptation and mitigation very costly in the long run, and leave them in a perpetual dependency on developed countries to tackle climate change related issues.

Furthermore, the proposal by OPEC countries that a review of the impacts of adaptation should be considered in a new agreement has thrown a wrench in the works. Experts believe that a binding agreement signed now would have devastating consequences for the oil exporting countries.

Consequently, some African countries believe this would erode the principle that polluters should pay for the greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, they firmly believe that the Copenhagen talks should be strictly guided by scientific consideration over anything else.

About 15,000 delegates from over 190 countries are attending the Copenhagen conference.

(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2009)

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