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US should “shape up or get out” of UN climate talks


Summary of story from Democracy Now! December 8, 2011

The daughter of the late Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Wangari Maathai has said the US should “shape up or get out” of the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Durban, South Africa, this week.

Wanjira Maathai, the international director of the Green Belt Movement, a Kenyan environmental NGO, said:

“The United States should be providing the leadership … yet they’re really putting blocks on what would be for African nations a really life and death situation.

“We appeal to them to really look beyond their own selfish gains. They’re going to probably have to come to the rescue, if we get more famines of the scale that is in the Horn of Africa. So the devastation is not worth waiting for. Let’s act now.”

Speaking of the US’s alleged attempt to prevent any kind of mandatory regulation of greenhouse gas emissions until 2020, Maathai said: “We certainly can’t afford that.”

The International Energy Agency has said that, by 2017, the world would already have passed the two degree limit for increase in climate that would bring about catastrophic results such as intensified flooding, droughts and famines.

“So we really don’t have—we don’t even have 2020 to wait. We’re talking about in the next few years, we’ll begin to see some catastrophic effects of climate change.”

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