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African churches urge compensation for global warming damage

A united Christian platform of Caritas Internationalis and the All Africa Conference of Churches has urged industrialised nations to compensate poor countries for damage caused by high carbon emissions, which scientists and activists say are causing global warming.

"We are urging delegates meeting here to agree there is an urgent need for industrialised nations and their corporations to compensate poor nations for the damage inflicted by current and historical emissions of carbon," the platform said in a statement. They issued their call as the 189 Parties to the United Nations Frame-work Convention on Climate Change and 166 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol conference got underway in Nairobi on 6 November.

The two-week conference, attended by an estimated 5000 participants from across the world is expected to draw up a plan to arrest a fast growing global climatic crisis.

Kivutha Kibwana, Kenya’s environment minister and the conference’s president said at the opening of the meeting, climate change could cause serious disruptions to economic and social activity in a scale similar to the great wars and the economic depression of the last century.

"Climate change threatens development goals for billion of world’s poorest," he said.

Churches in Africa are warning adverse climatic changes could threaten the livelihoods of at least 600 million people who depend on agriculture in Africa. These people, according to the churches, had been able to forecast weather patterns, but recently the patterns have become very unpredictable.

"Climate change for us is not a theoretical matter it is a matter of survival. With declined rainfall and precipitation, rivers are not having as much water. Without enough water, we are going to become ecological refugees," Professor Jesse Mugambi, a member of the World Council of Churches working group on climate change told journalists.

Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace International, climate and Energy Policy Advisor said: "The legal, moral and political obligations of the rich countries are clear; they must dramatically reduce their emissions and at the same time be prepared to provide massive support to help the poorest countries adapt to climate change."

(c) Ecumenical News International