Africa to abandon climate talks if demands not met: Ethiopian PM

African nations will walk out of climate change talks in Copenhagen if their demands, including hefty compensations from the West, are not met, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Thursday.

One of the key demands that the world’s poorest continent is making is billions of dollars in compensation to help it cope with the effects of climate change.

However a panel representing the continent at the talks is yet to come up with a figure.

“If need be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threatens to be another rape of the continent,” said Meles, who leads the panel.

“While we reason with everyone to achieve our objective we are not prepared to rubber stamp any agreement by the powers,” he told African officials and experts from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development at a meeting in Addis Ababa.

“We will use our numbers to delegitimise any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position.”

According to a study by the UK-based Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, global warming could cost the continent around 30 billion dollars a year by 2015.

That figure could rise to between 50 billion and 100 billion dollars by 2020 due to increasing costs to cope with climate change effects such as frequent and more severe floods, droughts and storms, as well as extreme changes in rainfall patterns, the group said.

African Union chairman Jean Ping urged rich nations not to renege on their financial commitments.

“It is my expectation that such financial resources must be from public funds and must be additional to the usual overseas development assistance,” he told the gathering.

African countries will also demand that industrialised nations take measures to limit global warming to two degrees celsius and cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020.

“What we are not prepared to live with is global warming above minimum unavoidable levels,” Meles said.

“We will therefore never accept any global deal that does not limit global warming to the minimum unavoidable level, no matter what levels of compensation and assistance are promised to us.”

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