Corruption: Sarkozy, Obama Pressure Ethiopia’s Zenawi to Betray Africa’s Future at Copenhagen Climate Talks

NGOs and civil society groupings are reacting with anger and disappointment to a joint appeal by France and “Ethiopia, representing Africa” for a so-called ‘Copenhagen Accord’ to result from the current COP15 negotiations being held in the Danish capital. The French / Ethiopian proposal appeared on the French Presidency’s website today.

The proposed accord, which would be binding on all parties immediately on signature and lead to a ‘legal international instrument’ to be agreed ‘as early as possible in 2010’ ignores the latest science, fails to put forward greenhouse gas concentration targets that will be sufficient to prevent dangerous global warming, and makes a mockery of calls for sufficient funding for climate adaptation and mitigation.

In what looks more like conspiracy than coincidence, the announcement by President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Zenawi of Ethiopia comes on the same day the White House is reporting that President Obama called Zenawi to discuss the UN climate talks: “He expressed his appreciation for the leadership role the Prime Minister was playing in work with African countries on climate change, and urged him to help reach agreement at the Leaders summit later this week in Copenhagen.”

“The ugly and overt pressure on developing countries to sign an agreement that will put their very survival in jeopardy has begun,” said 350.org founder Bill McKibben. “It’s very tough to stand up to the Americans, especially Barack Obama. But even the U.S. president can’t protect nations against rising waters, withering droughts, and dried-up glaciers. This is the moment for Africa, for island nations, for the developing world to insist on a future.”

By calling for an upper limit of temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius, the Zenawi and Sarkozy proposal ignores the threat that this level represents to Africa: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report says that should the average temperature of the globe rise by 2 degrees C, Africa’s “median temperature increase would be between 3°C and 4°C, roughly 1.5 times the global mean response” – an extremely dangerous rise.  (Source: Contribution of Working Group I to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Chapter 11, Regional Climate Projections, at page 866-867)

“The IPCC science is clear – 2 degrees is 3.5 degrees in Africa – this is death to millions of Africans” said Mithika Mwenda of Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance.

The proposal also makes a mockery of calls for sufficient funding for climate adaptation and mitigation to flow form rich to poor countries. The proposed “fast start” fund, which would pay out $10 billion over the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, is wholly insufficient to address the needs of African countries, many of whom are already suffering massive losses due to climate change. Although it calls for larger and more sustained financing to flow to climate-vulnerable countries from 2013 onwards (paid for by a possible tax on financial transactions and sea and air transport) this call will not be a binding part of the French / Ethiopian proposal. If details do emerge on the finance piece of the deal, there could be a silver lining to this announcement, but as of yet,we aren’t seeing or hearing any real figures. One can only hope that Zenawi is still pushing hard for a real financial commitment from developed countries.

“If Prime Minister Meles wants to sell out the lives and hopes of Africans for a pittance – he is welcome to – but that is not Africa’s position” Mithika Mwenda.

“Every other African country has committed to policy based on the science. That means at least 45% cuts by rich countries by 2020 and it means $400 billion fast-track finance not $10 billion” said Augustine Njamnshi of Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance. “You cannot say you are proposing a ‘solution’ to climate change if your solution will see millions of Africans die and if the poor not the polluters keep paying for climate change.”

Contact Jamie Henn in Copenhagen for interviews with PACJA spokespeople or more information: +45 52 68 47 65

62 Responses to “Corruption: Sarkozy, Obama Pressure Ethiopia’s Zenawi to Betray Africa’s Future at Copenhagen Climate Talks”


  1. 1 creativegreenius Dec 15th, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    This is fantastic reporting from one of the most credible sources on the scene in Copenhagen. Thank you Jamie Henn for telling it like it is.

    This story is also an absolute outrage and will demand action from those of us who supported President Obama during the campaign and are not happy with him or his lack of urgency when it comes to global warming.

    The half-assed compromises now being offered on the health care side seem indicative of a leader who cares more about cutting a deal than the actual terms of that deal.

    That crap will not do for climate change and we better be ready to stand up and fight a lot stronger than those who gave up on getting us a single payer government backed system for our health. I’m ready to fight and I am not willing to back down either.

    We want a REAL DEAL and if President Obama doesn’t have the guts to get us one, then we’ll go over his head and fight for it without him.

    Can we really do that? Yes. We. Can.

  2. 2 Andrew Dec 15th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Wow! That is so sleazy.

    Way to sell out Ethiopia!

  3. 3 Russell Dec 15th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I think it was stupid and corrupt from the beginning. France and Ethiopia trying to decide a continents fate. That is ridiculous and not at all inclusive.

  4. 4 beles Dec 15th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Meles Zenawi is running one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa. Though Ethiopia ranks the poorest country in the world with more than 13 million people starving as we speak he got crowned as the 11th richest head of state in the world http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_heads_of_state_and_government_by_net_worth&oldid=331394125.
    In a country of more than 100 ethnic groups and more than 80 million people his entire military and government is composed of only his ethnic group which is less than 6 million total. He is running a system remarkably similar to the blend of the old south African Apartheid and North Korean totalitarian regime.
    Except for his birth place Tigrai he has been selling fertile farm land and water to multi national organizations and middle eastern oil rich sheiks for flower farming for export to European markets and extensive farming whose product is directly shipped to oil rich arab states while the people of the country are starving the world is being asked to feed them. That left the water polluted and the land barren. The human cost is yet to be determined.

    The western governments have been propping him with money and arms for years in the name of fighting terrorism in the area though the biggest terrorist of all in the area that is holding more than 100 million people hostage is meles Zenawi himself.

    As years go by western leaders are becoming nervous about being seen with such tyrant so they start pressuring him to reform the stifling political atmosphere in the country.
    Since he failed to full fill the job that has been given to him to check the Islamist radicals in Somalia he was at the end of his usefulness to the west. So what he does? he bribes African diplomats in Addis Ababa to represent him in Copenhagen only to sell out Africa probably in return western countries ease the pressure they put on him.

  5. 5 Johnson Dec 15th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    This so called Meles has betrayed his country by selling Eritrea. He is not good for his people. I could not understand why Africans choose a person like this guy who does not care for current future generation leave alone for the future.

  6. 6 beles Dec 15th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Please sea what Ethiopians wrote to the summit aboout Meles Zenawi

    http://advocacyforethiopia.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ClimateCoverletterDec62009final.pdf

  7. 7 hi Dec 15th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    From the get go, we knew that the prime minister of Ethiopia, a ruthless dictator, is to bargain his stay in power with the western powers, via his chairmanship of African delegation. He doenot care for the country his ruling, let alone thinking for Africans.

  8. 8 Wondimu Mekonnen Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you, Jamiehenn

    Thank you to all those who rightly commented above. Yes, Meles has been selling fertile lands of Ethiopia, now he has to sell Africa too. Who appointed him for such a responsible task any way?

    Please note that Ethiopians from all over the world would be in Copenhagen on the 17 and 18 December to protest against the brutal dictator, Meles Zenawi. Under no circumstances would be appointed to take part on an environment conference when he had turned his own country into a barren desert by cutting down rain the last pocket of rainforsts by selling them to loggers and flower cultivating foreign agro-corporates.

  9. 9 Bob Ward Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I think Prime Minister Meles’s proposal deserves careful consideration rather than a kneejerk response from commentators who think they are better qualified to judge what is in Africa’s best interests. It seems that he has managed to get the rich countries to start listening to Africa’s case. Doesn’t he deserve support for putting forward Africa’s case rather than the biased old accusations that because he’s an African leader he must be corrupt?

  10. 10 Morgan Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    And we think politics gets murky in the US Senate. Thanks 350 for doing at least some of the work to make sense of where different countries are coming from and what’s really going on.

    Depressing, to say the least.

  11. 11 Chuck Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    This is the same regime that President Bush used to invade Somalia a few years ago in our proxy war with Islamic forces that were about to consolidate a government there for the first time in more than a generation. An insurgency eventually forced the hated foreigners out, but the country remains wracked with fighting. The Ethiopian dictatorship is a willing tool for Western manipulation. This is just a new example of their fine work.

  12. 12 PoorSomali Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    whose is this anti-Ethiopian Beles ?
    An Eritrean,Somalian or North Sudanese ?

    this guy spreads false information about Ethiopia,a country more resourceful and naturally blessed than all its neighbours, if he is Somalian including his starving country.

    Beles spreads false propaganda about Ethiopia.
    “Ethiopia ranks the poorest country in the world” FALSE, check the list below it is Congo and Somalia is also poorer than Ethiopia.
    “more than 13 million people starving as we speak” FALSE, my infromation is 4 to 5 million farmers, that is about 5% of the Ethiopian population, in comparison 100 % of Somalis and 70% of Eritreans are starving as we speak and rely on food aid.
    “In a country of more than 100 ethnic groups” FALSE, that is also a false information, i am sure you do that by intention, and you could be Eritrean or Somali. There are some 80 ethnic groups including those as small as a few thousand or hundred. the five or so main ethnic groups make up over 80% of the Ethiopian population.
    Enough today for that insidious anti-Ethiopian Beles.
    He cries against Meles Zenawi,current leader and tyrant in Ethiopia, but he hides the truth that he was brought to power with help from Somalia,Eritrea and Sudan. So you hypocrites should blame yourselves for what Meles is doing and apologize by the proud Ethiopian people.

    Top Ten Poorest Countries 2009

    No.1 – Republic of the Congo (GDP – per capita: $300)
    No.2 – Republic of Liberia (GDP – per capita: $500)
    No.3 – Republic of Zimbabwe (GDP – per capita: $500)
    No.4 – The Solomon Islands (GDP – per capita: $600)
    No.5 – Republic of Somalia (GDP – per capita: $600)
    No.6 – Union of the Comoros (GDP – per capita: $600)
    No.7 – Guinea-Bissau (GDP – per capita: $600)
    No.8 – Central African Republic (GDP – per capita: $700)
    No.9 – Niger (GDP – per capita: $700)
    No.10 – Ethiopia (GDP – per capita: $700)

  13. 13 assefa Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    it make me surpriss I don’t know. it is a big surprise for me and Meles is in big trouble unless he is smart.
    assefa from ethiopia addis ababa

  14. 14 cuniverse Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Well what do you expect Africans like the Native Americans are next on the chopping block.
    Unlike the Asians Africans do not have the Ability to protect themselves from the Europeans.
    After more than 300 years of colonial rule, most of their countries are the most backward on the planet, they still have not learned that the road to their individual survival, is Africa,s collective survival as one continent.
    This is the Dawning of Africans death throws

  15. 15 Lihun Indelibe Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Meles Zenawi is one of the most dispised dictators in the history of Africa. His human rights abuse surpasses any dictator in recorded history including Fidel Castro of Cuba and Stalin.

    One of the ethiopian respected authors, AL Mariam, has one of the seasons quotable quotes ” Regime Change Before Action on Climate Change in Africa!”. Please read his full argument at http://www.ethiomedia.com/course/4591.html

  16. 16 PoorSomali Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    I WONDER HOW COULD AFRICANS TRUST MELES ZENAWI, THIS TRAITOR AND PUPPET OF THE WEST ???

    In the last 18 years since Meles Zenawi’s TPLF came to power with the help of Sudan, Eritrea, Libya, Egypt,USA,UK and others we the opposition groups in Ethiopia have always informed our African brothers and sisters that Meles Zenawi is ANTI-ETHIOPIAN and a traitor.
    The African diplomats and agents based in the nations capital Addis Abeba could also collect first- hand information about the nature of that regime.
    So if they trust this tyrant they should blame themselves.

    Meles Zenawi does not care about Ethiopia or Africa, what he cares about is money and the possibility to stay in power a bit longer. And if the western governments ( whose support he badly needs to stay in power ) promise him to let him rule longer in return for getting them the support for their agendas concerning the climate change meeting from African governments this traitor Meles Zenawi would do that.

    You guys should know this. We told you in the past 18 years what kind of a traitor he is.

    Meles Zenawi is a desperate tyrant who is hated by the people he rules and would do anything to stay in power !

  17. 17 PoorSomali Dec 15th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Finally i want to advise you to distinguish between Meles Zenawi ( the anti-Ethiopian,the traitor and the western puppet ) and Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people !
    Because both are not the same thing, actually both are quite contrary.

    The Meles Zenawi regime was imposed on the Ethiopian people against their will in may 1991 by external powers,notably USA,UK,Sudan,Eritrea,Libya and Egypt.
    And in the past 18 years he was advancing the interests of those countries.
    Shame on you Africans for not having discovered the destructive nature of the Meles regime much earlier and helped to remove him from power.
    In may 2005 the Meles Zenawi regime was beaten by the opposition in a national election, but he denied to transfer power to the newly elected government.
    Then the African governments watched and kept quiet.

  18. 18 EthiopiansforEnvironmental justice&Human rights Dec 15th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    To begin with the Ethiopian people are disapponted as Meles the ecocider and genocider at the helm of Africa’ team. Read about the abysmal records of Meles Zenwi hereto below.

    Nevertheless, we are disappointed that the African Union has selected and the Climate Summit has given an opportunity to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to represent the African continent. We believe that Meles Zenawi is the wrong person to represent Africa, since his policies are the causes and drivers for the incalculable environmental degradations currently taking place in Ethiopia. Under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s regime, Ethiopia is facing an ecological catastrophe: deforestation, recurrent drought, and desertification. Water pollution, air pollution, soil erosion are becoming alarmingly high due to Zenawi’s regime lacks both sustainable development plans and non-transboundary environmental policies. It is due to this fact that UNDP and other environmental organizations have been reporting about the alarming state of the ecological degradation in Ethiopia. Mr. Meles Zenawi’s colossal failures in environmental policies are highlighted by his regime’s land tenure policy and his relentless suppression of civil and economic rights. Millions of Ethiopians are exposed to periodic hunger and famine in part due to his regime’s land tenure policy. After almost two decades of Zenawi’s rule, in 2009 over ten million Ethiopians are exposed to hunger and malunitrition.
    As is customary, Meles Zenawi’s regime has signed numerous international and environmental treaties that it never implements. To add insult to injury, Mr. Meles Zenawi even chairs Ethiopia’s Environmental Council. It is partly due to his control that the existing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lacks the political clout to discharge and enforce the duties and responsibilities vested in it. To those who pay attention to what is going on in Ethiopia, the story of the EPA’s feebleness is a direct byproduct of profuse lip service given by the regime of Zenawi about its concern for the environment– as is the case about good governance, democracy, human rights, etc,. In addition, Mr. Zenawi’s hostile attitude towards Environmental NGOs – and civil society organizations, in general, has created enormous hurdles for those who want to mitigate the colossal environmental crisis facing Ethiopia.
    According to the government’s own Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia has been losing up to 200,000 hectares of forest every year. In a very recent statement, the head of the same Institute, stated: “deforestation has continued at an alarming rate in several parts of Ethiopia as a result of illegal logging, deforestation and other human induced activities”. Forty percent of the land covered by forest by the turn of the 20th century had gone down to 5.5% in 1987 and only 0.2% in 2003. If the current trend continues, Ethiopian forest covers would be extinct along with the loss of the country’s uniquely rich wildlife, fauna, flora, and a broad and general loss of its biological diversity.
    The governance problem is one of the main causes of the environmental distress taking place in Ethiopia Soil erosion, which is linked with deforestation and Meles Zenawi’s land tenure system, continues to contribute to the drying up of the country’s lakes. Major Ethiopian Lakes such as Haro Maya (Alemaya), Adele, Awasa, and others have dried out totally. Acute shortages of water afflict major towns such as the city of Harrar and the capital city, Addis Ababa. As a result of the shortage of water resources, thousands of Ethiopians are affected by water born diseases.
    The use of pesticides, untested and unfitting fertilizers, other toxic chemicals, some of them long abandoned by the industrialized countries, are now common in Ethiopia. The excess chemicals that are being washed off from the farms to rivers, streams, and lakes, are causing a plethora of problems including the poisoning of inhabitants, increasing algae blooms, and excessive plant growth leading to eutrophication, thereby making the water bodies and vegetation harmful to humans, wild and aquatic life and polluting the underground water. The level of environmental destruction caused by the chemicals used by foreign and party owned commercial flower farms and the leather industry is among the worst in the world. The environmental destruction and its hazardous impacts on human life and other inhabitants at and around Lake Koka, for instance, are captured by a few investigative reports and were televised recently by the members of the International media such as the Al-Jazeera Television Network and detailed by an eminent British Scientist.
    Vehicular emissions in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, are alarmingly high. The presence of lead and sulfur in imported fuels, despite a ban since 2002, and the absence of emission inspection clearly indicate that the laws Zenawi passes only give lip service to clear and present dangers to the lives of Ethiopians.
    Ethiopia’s government human right abuses and suppression of press freedom are well-documented, by Human Rights Watch; The US State Department Annual Report on Human Rights, Amnesty International, the New York based Center to Protect Journalist (CPJ), Journalists without Borders, and many other creditable international and regional human rights and press freedom organizations. The organization–Genocide Watch– has called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to initiate an investigation against the atrocities committed by the government of Meles Zenawi. Wide spread corruption also adds to the malaise of ordinary Ethiopians. Transparency International’s most recent report has ranked Ethiopia as 126th most corrupt country in the world.
    Periodic ethnic conflicts in the country are destroying and weakening the institutions and these in turn are prohibiting the citizens and the NGOs to make informed decisions about the environment. The governance problem is one of the main causes of the environmental distress taking place in Ethiopia.

    We believe that in an age of Globalization humanity’s interest, wellbeing, and destiny are directly intertwined. In view of this, we urge you to take tangible steps that include the following concerns of ours:
    1. Mr. Meles Zenawi must be held accountable to the massive environmental degradtion in Ethiopia. We urge you not to ignore the environmental damages that the Zenawi’s regime has committed inside Ethiopia. For doing so sends a very bad message to all of us who care about the environment. Zenawi should not be rewarded for the seemingly non-transboundary environmental degradation he has brought to Ethiopia.

    2. Emphasize the crucial roles of a representative’s records in environmental protection, social justice, good governance, human rights, and the rule of law that are important in shaping and averting Global crisis in climate change.
    3. Ensure the appropriate use of any climate change financing package to nations with non representative leaders with bad track records on environment, human rights, good governance, and social justice by binding conditions tied to strict measures that would ensure that the funds would not be siphoned off by corrupt leaders such as Mr. Meles Zenawi and others in Africa.
    4. Refrain from giving funds to a corrupt regime such as Zenawi as doing so would be a waste of resources and tantamount to committing the same mistakes that the world community has made during the 1983/4 Ethiopian famine when., as recently revealed by Zenawi’s rebel comrades, the food aid and money was used to build his Red Army. Mr. Zenawi will use the same international funds, as in the past, to keep political and ethnic cronies to continue suppressing the Ethiopian people.
    5. Do not undermine the importance of social justice, good governance, human rights, and the empowerment of citizens, and their civil societies in shaping and in averting Global warming

    We urge countries of the industrialized world attending the conference not to write a blank check and reward dictators, such as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who have abysmal records of human rights and the environment.

  19. 19 samarita Dec 15th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    to poorsomali

    you do not need to make enemeies. What makes you to focus on one commnet when there are all of the comments telling you the truth. there was no comment from Ethiopians, of from all over the world the comments are the same. they are against Meles. there was no one against Ethiopian people. poor ethiopians.
    Why did mention North sudan, Somalia and Eritrea for one comment but not said any thing t all the other comments.
    ny adivse to you is you do not need to make enemeies. you ethiopians yourself are the enmeies of yourself. Remain in hunger and starvation for 25 years is not made to you by any other country. Discover what is inside you all. why is zimbabwe, liberia,guinea bisaw, niger, central african( according to your information) .. with the same or less than Ethiopian $700 per capita not producing as many starving people as ethiopia does.this is the question you have to ask yourself.

  20. 20 Ajirea Dec 15th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    PoorSomali,
    I think you overreacted to “beles’” comment. His statements are within the ballpark: 80 versus 100 ethnic groups, either one is too many, and that is what “beles” wanted to show. “The eighth poorest” versus “the poorest country” in the world are almost similar. So, you overreacted there too. In your response you also made some errors. The number of hungry people is closer to 13 million; but you quoted 4 to 5 million, which are more like those in famine or extreme conditions.

    “beles” analysis is excellent and spot-on!
    Thank you “beles!”

  21. 21 beles Dec 15th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Bobward
    I think you are over estimating the intelligence of Meles Zenawi. He is nothing but an actor like all dictators (Mousoloni, Idi amin, hitler…etc) for whom words meant to intimidate or impress listeners. He would not care or understand the concerns of humanity except satisfying his own immediate hunger for power. He is just parroting what he has been given to say. That will allow him to continue his mayhem in Ethiopia and the region.
    His track record says it all. He is a person who genocide-watch has nominated for international criminal court. His presence in Copenhagen as a representant of Africa is an affront to Africans as a whole and particularly to Ethiopians who are suffering under the environmental disaster he has created.

  22. 22 Dan Dec 16th, 2009 at 12:28 am

    What do you expect from zenawi, did you think a butcher with blood trailing behind him was fit to represent Africa in the first place, was it not for the greedy lot who know how to pull his strings ?

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=1801928398

    Illegal invasion of Somalia with UN and US complicity

    Somalia Crisis worse than Darfur, says UN
    http://tinyurl.com/cern3e

    Ethiopia’s ‘own Darfur’ as villagers flee government-backed violence
    http://tinyurl.com/ysmvtc

    Ethiopia: Army Commits Executions, Torture, and Rape in Ogaden
    Donors Should Act to Stop Crimes Against Humanity
    http://tinyurl.com/cg4ygx

  23. 23 Johnson Dec 16th, 2009 at 12:32 am

    This tyrant melese zenawi is trying to use the plat form to cover his dictatorial image by way of associating with great leaders of the world.He is one of the few ruthless, excelling even Mussoloni, living in this world of ours.He is here not to stand for africans but to sell their interests out to westerners for a dime and propaganda gain.Africans have to lock horns and bitterly oppose this big time blood sucker and expose his big and secret deal to the rest of the world .

  24. 24 Henry Lutaaya Dec 16th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    First of all, it smirks of arrogance that France and Ethiopia can have the guts to say THEY REPRESENT AFRICA. I am totally outraged by this. France still thinks it can impose its will over Africa. To Obama, you’re doomed. How can Obama stand in the way of justice????
    He should be shamed when he comes to Copenhagen. Please, NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL

  25. 25 mamo Dec 16th, 2009 at 2:25 am

    It’s amazing how angry some of these people are here for no good reason! To begin with, those people who hate Meles would be going with every wave that would criticize him weather he deserve it or not. These people have no idea what the prime minister did or what the two leaders (France and USA) told him. One of the reasons why Ethiopia is so poor is because we tend to get too emotional and negative over people we don’t like no matter what they are doing. But again, we see the likes of Sarah Palin in the US who has no idea about the global warming accusing Barack Obama of selling out his country so I am not surprised.

  26. 26 Helen Dec 16th, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino. His teaching areas include American constitutional law, civil rights law, judicial process, American and California state governments, and African politics.He is the Senior Editor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, a leading scholarly journal on Ethiopia.

    one of Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam report Posted

    The Toxic Ecology of African Dictatorships.

    The inconvenient truth about Africa today is that dictatorship presents a far more perilous threat to the survival of Africans than climate change. The devastation African dictators have wreaked upon the social fabric and ecosystem of African societies is incalculable. Over the past several decades, bloodthirsty dictators like Uganda’s Idi Amin, Zaire’s (The Congo) Mobutu Sese Seko, Central African Republic’s Jean Bedel Bokassa, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, Chad’s Hissiene Habre, and the political fraternal twins Mengistu Haile Mariam and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia have been responsible for untold deaths on the continent. Millions of Africans have starved to death because of the criminal negligence, depraved indifference and gross incompetence of African dictators, not climate change. Millions more suffer today in abject poverty because corrupt African dictators have systematically siphoned off international aid, pilfered loans provided by the international banks and plundered the tax coffers. Africans face extreme privation and mass starvation not because of climate change but because of the rapacity of power-hungry dictators. The continent today suffers from a terminal case of metastasized cancer of dictatorships, not the blight of global warming.

    The fact that greenhouse gas emissions (global warming) from human activities are responsible for a dangerous elevation of the global temperature is accepted by most climatologists in the world. Only clueless flat-earther troglodytes like U.S. Senator James Inhofe believe that climate change is a conspiracy hatched by “the media, Hollywood and our pop culture.” The general scientific understanding is that the planet is facing ruin from an unprecedented combination of extreme weather patterns, floods, droughts, heat waves and epidemics. The developed countries are primarily blamed for the rise in temperatures caused by excess industrial carbon emissions. This is evident in the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans. Africa has contributed virtually nothing to global warming. For instance, Africa produces an average of 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide per person per year compared to 16 metric tons for every American.

    For Africa, climate change paints a doomsday scenario: Global warming will severely aggravate the atmospheric circulation and precipitation in the African monsoonal system resulting in severe shortages in agricultural output. Millions of Africans will die from famine, and the continent’s agriculture will be crippled. Deforestation and overgrazing will cause further increases in global temperatures through emission of greenhouse gases. Africa’s subsistence farmers who already operate in marginal environments will face catastrophic consequences in terms of decreased tillable and pastoral lands. Competition for water, agricultural and grazing land and other resources will inevitably result in conflicts and wars. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, trypanosomiasis and others will spread rapidly causing large scale deaths in Africa.

    The climate change debate has been honey in the mouths of forked tongue African dictators. It has provided them the perfect foil to avoid detection and accountability for their corruption and mismanagement of their societies, and a convenient opportunity to divert attention from their criminal state enterprises. Global warming has proven to be the perfect substitute for the old Bogeymen of Africa– colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and poverty. Why is Africa reduced to becoming the “beggar continent of the planet”? Global warming! Why are millions starving (euphemistically referred to as “severe food shortages” by officials) to death in Ethiopia? Climate change. African dictators are using global warming as their new preferred ideology behind which they can hide and ply their trade of corruption while expanding their thriving kleptocracies.

    The global warming debate has also offered African dictators a historic opportunity to guilt-trip the industrialized countries and rob them blind. Beginning on December 7, a phalanx of African climate change negotiators will swarm Copenhagen to attend the U.N. Conference on Climate Change. For Africa, the outcome of the negations is foreshadowed by pronouncements of comic bravado. On September 3, 2009, the Patriarch of African Dictators and head of the “single African negotiating team” on climate change, Meles Zenawi, huffed and puffed about what he and his sidekicks will do if the industrialized countries refuse to comply with his imperial ultimatum. Zenawi roared, “We will use our numbers to deligitimize any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position… We are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threatens to be another rape of our continent.” (Whether African dictators or the industrialized countries are raping the continent is an open question. Witnesses say it is a gang rape situation.)

    It was vintage Zenawi with his trademark zero-sum game strategy writ large to the world: “My way or the highway!” It does appear rather preposterous and irrational for the master of the zero-sum game to open negotiations with his longtime benefactors by sticking an ultimatum in their faces. Obviously, the strategic negotiating bottom line is to shakedown the industrialized countries and strong-arm them into forking over billions in carbon blood money; and Zenawi did not mince words: “The key thing for me is that Africa be compensated for the damage caused by global warming. Many institutions have tried to quantify that and they have come up with different figures. The sort of median figure would be in the range of 40 billion USD a year.”

    Curiously, we could ask what Zenawi and his brotherhood of dictators would do with the windfall of billions, if they could get it? It is reasonable to assume that they will use it to expand their kleptocracies and cling to power like ticks on a milk cow. They will certainly not use to meet the needs of their people. What they have done with the international aid money and loans they have received over the decades provides compelling extrapolative evidence of what they will do with any windfall of carbon blood money.

    As Dambissa Moyo and others have shown, in the last fifty years the West has poured more than a trillion dollars of aid into Africa. Today, over 350 million Africans live on less than USD$1. Real per-capita income in Africa is lower today than it was four decades ago. Aid money and international bank loans have been stolen by African dictators and their henchmen to line their pockets and maintain their huge kleptocracies. In 2002, an African Union study estimated the loss of USD $150bn a year to corruption in Africa, and not without the complicity of the donor countries. Compare this to the USD$22bn the developed countries gave to all of sub-Saharan Africa in 2008. In 2006, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who faced impeachment for corruption and ineptitude, declared at an African civic groups meeting in Addis Ababa that African leaders “have stolen at least $140 billion from their people in the decades since independence.” Ghanaian economist George Ayittey citing U.N. data argues, “These are gross underestimates… $200 billion or 90 percent of the sub-Saharan part of the continent’s gross domestic product was shipped to foreign banks in 1991 alone. Civil wars in Africa cost at least $15 billion annually in lost output, wreckage of infrastructure, and refugee crises… In Zimbabwe, foreign investors have fled the region and more than 4 million Zimbabweans have left the country along with 60,000 physicians and other professionals….” Is it any wonder that Africa today is worse off than it was 50 years ago?

    The question is not whether global warming could impact Africa disproportionately, or Africa is entitled to assistance to overcome the effects of greenhouse emissions caused by the industrialized countries. The question is whether African dictators have the moral credibility and standing to make a demand for compensation and what they will do with such compensation if they were to get it. Certainly, the capo African negotiator has as much credibility to demand compensation in Copenhagen as a bank robber has from the bank owners. It has been a notorious fact for at least two decades that Ethiopia is facing environmental disaster. Ethiopia’s forest coverage by the turn of the last century was 40%. By 1987, under the military government, it went down to 5.5%. In 2003, it dropped down to 0.2%. The Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute says Ethiopia loses up to 200,000 hectares of forest every year. Between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost 14.0% of its forest cover (2,114,000 hectares) and 3.6% of its forest and woodland habitat. If the trend continues, it is expected that Ethiopia could lose all of its forest resources in 11 years, by the year 2020. What has Zenawi’s regime done to reverse the problem of deforestation in Ethiopia? They have sold what little arable land is left to the Saudis, the Shiekdoms, the Indians, the South Korea and others with crisp dollar bills looking for fire sales on African lands.

    There has been a lot of environmental window dressing and grandstanding in various parts of Africa. In Ethiopia, lofty proclamations have been issued to “improve and enhance the health and quality of life of all Ethiopians”, “control pollution” and facilitate “environmental impact” studies. The “nations, nationalities and peoples” are granted environmental self-determination. There is an Environmental Protection Council which “oversees activities of sectoral agencies and environmental units with respect to environmental all regional states.” The Environmental Protection Agency is “accountable to the Prime Minister.” What have these make-believe bureaucracies done to save Lake Koka, just outside the capital, and the 17,000 people who drink its toxic water daily?

    Zenawi and his minions will show up looking for a pot of gold at the end of the Copenhagen rainbow. It does not appear that a bonanza of riches will be awaiting them. If the advance Barcelona negotiations held last month are any indication, a deal does not appear possible in Copenhagen. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Barcelona summit that “global climate negotiations would inevitably drag out after the meeting in Copenhagen ends on Dec. 19.” African dictators deserve our grudging admiration for their sheer tenacity and brazen audacity. After sucking their people dry, they are now moving camp to the greener pastures of climate change to continue their vampiric trade.

    The fact of the matter is that while the rest of the world toasts from global warming, Africa is burning down in the fires of dictatorship. While Europeans are fretting about their carbon footprint, Africans are gasping to breathe free under the bootprints of dictators. While Americans are worried about carbon emission trapped in the atmosphere, Africans find themselves trapped in minefields of dictatorship. Handing over carbon blood money to African dictators is like increasing industrial emissions to cut back on global warming. It is the wrong thing to do.

    Africa faces an ecological collapse not because of climate change but because of lack of regime change. It is humorously ironic that African dictators who panhandle the industrialized countries for over two-thirds of their budgets should threaten to walk out on them. We know the bravado is nothing more than the “chatter of a beggar’s teeth”. As the bank robber will not walk out of the bank empty handed because of moral outrage over the small amount of money sitting in the vault, we do not expect the band of African negotiators to walk out Copenhagen because they are offered less than what they are asking. We expect to see them making a beeline to the conference door for handouts for there is no such thing as a choosy beggar. We wish them well. Go on, take the money and run….

    Regime Change Before Action on Climate Change in Africa!

  27. 27 Ewnet Dec 16th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    The question is not whether global warming could impact Africa disproportionately, or Africa is entitled to assistance to overcome the effects of greenhouse emissions caused by the industrialized countries. The question is whether African dictators have the moral credibility and standing to make a demand for compensation and what they will do with such compensation if they were to get it. Certainly, the capo African negotiator has as much credibility to demand compensation in Copenhagen as a bank robber has from the bank owners. It has been a notorious fact for at least two decades that Ethiopia is facing environmental disaster. Ethiopia?s forest coverage by the turn of the last century was 40%. By 1987, under the military government, it went down to 5.5%. In 2003, it dropped down to 0.2%. The Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute says Ethiopia loses up to 200,000 hectares of forest every year. Between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost 14.0% of its forest cover (2,114,000 hectares) and 3.6% of its forest and woodland habitat. If the trend continues, it is expected that Ethiopia could lose all of its forest resources in 11 years, by the year 2020. What has Zenawi?s regime done to reverse the problem of deforestation in Ethiopia? They have sold what little arable land is left to the Saudis, the Shiekdoms, the Indians, the South Korea and others with crisp dollar bills looking for fire sales on African lands.

    There has been a lot of environmental window dressing and grandstanding in various parts of Africa. In Ethiopia, lofty proclamations have been issued to ?improve and enhance the health and quality of life of all Ethiopians?, ?control pollution? and facilitate ?environmental impact? studies. The ?nations, nationalities and peoples? are granted environmental self-determination. There is an Environmental Protection Council which ?oversees activities of sectoral agencies and environmental units with respect to environmental all regional states.? The Environmental Protection Agency is ?accountable to the Prime Minister.? What have these make-believe bureaucracies done to save Lake Koka, just outside the capital, and the 17,000 people who drink its toxic water daily?

    Zenawi and his minions will show up looking for a pot of gold at the end of the Copenhagen rainbow. It does not appear that a bonanza of riches will be awaiting them. If the advance Barcelona negotiations held last month are any indication, a deal does not appear possible in Copenhagen. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Barcelona summit that “global climate negotiations would inevitably drag out after the meeting in Copenhagen ends on Dec. 19.” African dictators deserve our grudging admiration for their sheer tenacity and brazen audacity. After sucking their people dry, they are now moving camp to the greener pastures of climate change to continue their vampiric trade. The fact of the matter is that while the rest of the world toasts from global warming, Africa is burning down in the fires of dictatorship. While Europeans are fretting about their carbon footprint, Africans are gasping to breathe free under the bootprints of dictators. While Americans are worried about carbon emission trapped in the atmosphere, Africans find themselves trapped in minefields of dictatorship. Handing over carbon blood money to African dictators is like increasing industrial emissions to cut back on global warming. It is the wrong thing to do.

    Africa faces an ecological collapse not because of climate change but because of lack of regime change. It is humorously ironic that African dictators who panhandle the industrialized countries for over two-thirds of their budgets should threaten to walk out on them. We know the bravado is nothing more than the ?chatter of a beggar?s teeth?. As the bank robber will not walk out of the bank empty handed because of moral outrage over the small amount of money sitting in the vault, we do not expect the band of African negotiators to walk out Copenhagen because they are offered less than what they are asking. We expect to see them making a beeline to the conference door for handouts for there is no such thing as a choosy beggar. We wish them well. Go on, take the money and run? Regime Change Before Action on Climate Change in Africa!

  28. 28 Solomon Dec 16th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Here we go again!
    I am very saddened to see the Ethiopian despot of Stalin standing next to president Sarcozy of France. Why was he there for?
    I guess, just to beg a big amount of money from his donors or just to be seen as their best African Lapdog for years to come or just to receive a nice pat on his back from his power & money bosses for a well done job against Ethiopian citizens for the last 18 years.
    Meles is neither environmentalist nor Nobel laureate should he worry about it whereas Wangari Maathari of Kenya is but sadly he hijacked her position via corruption to partake world’s most pressing climate issue conference in Copenhagen hoping that he may put his hands further on the bigger amounts of dollars so he can steal and pay his personal and cabal army top brasses at home to make sure that they take a firm control in killing his vast political opponents for another more 18 years so he can give more time to sell the vast African forest land to outsiders and lead the continent further environmental devastation even into ever deeper poverty, division and dust for another thousand dark years.
    His Western political bosses know that people die in Ethiopia at the alarming rates killed by hunger and by ongoing Meles’s cabal war where the west have been stitching power & money upon his back for 18 years mercilessly he has been committing a heinous crime by killing innocent Ethiopian citizens of his opponents against humanity for political and money gainst.Shame on him!

  29. 29 ODA Dec 16th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    All the comments are based on false report intended to defame Meles Zenawi. It is a conspiracy of reminents of past regimes. I know that this does not change any thing, except exposing your stupidity.

  30. 30 hadas Dec 16th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    It is very sadly to watch what the western countries are doing against the African people. Even though Meles Zenawi is the mercenary or servant of the western countries and fulfill their evil idea the great responsibility fall on those greedy western rulers.
    Do you think that if the climate will be changed radically Africa will be the only continent , which will face the most difficulty ever ? it is a rubbish thing to think like that friends.

    Hadas

  31. 31 harmer Dec 16th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Thank prime minister Meles Zenawi for getting the agenda of Afirica heeded at the COP meering. You are in deed the most witty, brilliant leader. WE strongly believe that you will bring Africa the compensation it deserves.
    Long life to you and your family. All those shouting above are the usual barking dogs we know at Nazreth.com, ethiopianreview.com, shaebyan websites. etc.

  32. 32 PoorSomali Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Above two woyanes defending the indefensible traitor and Africa-traitor of the century little man Meles Zenawi !
    Indeed these two are really what one calls blind supporters. But another point is how come the Africans gave this little man such a responsibility, to speak for them, we told them who he is.

  33. 33 Medhanitka Dec 17th, 2009 at 4:00 am

    ODa ODa you are the most stupidest person i have heard in my life ? people are serious they are truly expressing their concern over what an historical mistake has been made by your clan’s leader! we are talking about your life, your life and for that matter hundredth millions of our African’s life. why you don’t get life or just perhaps don’t make yourself look worse than you are.

  34. 34 PoorSomali Dec 17th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    CAN’T AFRICANS NOT THINK OR WHAT ?

    It is stupid to claim Meles Zenawi to sell out Africa, the point is WHY DO THEY ALLOW HIM TO DO THAT ???

    Do not they have the guts to say YOU ARE A TRAITOR ( which is what he is, and what we the opposition in Ethiopia told them for 18 long years !!! ) and FIRE HIM ???

    Because the Africans have two choices NOW:
    1. to allow him betray them
    2. to fire him and take charge

    To cry Meles Zenawi is betraying Africa is stupid when one has options.

  35. 35 PoorSomali Dec 17th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    And Ethiopians need to distance themselves from this traitor, and need to condemn him, like the opposition groups inside Ethiopia. Who knows, after Africans have allowed Meles to betray Africa ( at least so far ) we might hear voices who call for the relocation of the African Union from Addis Abeba !

    Libya’s Gaddafi would like that and we heard rumors that removing the African Union from Ethiopia (Addis Abeba) is one of the assignments given to Meles Zenawi by the western countries like USA,UK and Germany when they brought him to power in 1991.

    So it is important that Ethiopians condemn Meles.

  36. 36 Mars Aref Dec 17th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Hello African brothers and sisters,

    I am glad that all Africans now know how Meles Zenawi oppressed and betrayed the Ethiopian people for so many years.

    Shame on him and his supporters!

  37. 37 PoorSomali Dec 17th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks God Meles failed to betray Africa. Africans prevented him from doing that.
    Now he is a hated and despised little man in Africa. Opposition groups should figure out how to draw maximum benefit from this situation.

  38. 38 CMC SF Dec 19th, 2009 at 4:02 am

    Poor Africa who will be trusted to lead you to the future and take you to better place?
    The so called democratic dictators, or the tyrants who exploit all your resources.

  39. 39 FS Dec 19th, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Meles can be represented by three shot letters…3D , DDD….he is a Dictator at home..in his country, a Diplomat outside the country and a Democrat at meetings. Wat can u expect from a 3D face man?

  40. 40 mUIGWITHANIA Dec 19th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    In as much as we bash Zenawi let us not loose track of who the real criminals are .It is those in the White House and those in European capitals who are the biggest criminals. Let us not get too caught up in Zenawi and give crinimals like Obama a free ride .This is genocide

  41. 41 Bahala Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The Zenawi / Zarkozy deal in Copenhagen is a betrayal of Ethiopia, Africa and the world. The surprise is not that it is these two guys and many of their ilk who have are the architects. It is the foolish African leaders who have allowed a person such as Zenawi to represent “Africa” in such a critical juncture in the future of mankind. Here is a man who has raised the bar in corruption, environmental destruction and brutality against his own people. Truth is that Africa itself is hopelessly ruderless. I mean where is the leadership that could be trusted with standing up to the likes of Zarkozy?
    Zenawi has almost brought Ethiopia to its knees. Ethiopia is as poor as Somalia, give or take a fraction of a dollar a day. But Ethiopia, has received immense amounts of aid, has been at peace compared to its chaotic neighbor not to mention its endowment with nattural resources. The Zarkozy’s, the Blairs and the Bush’s have turned a blind eye to Zenawi’s blunder and devastation of Ethiopia.
    Zenawi is probably just returning the favour or is he looking to be the Pascal Lamy of the World Climate Organization? I would not be surprised if the man is looking for an exit strategy as Ethiopia comes at the seams through his deeds. If that happens, he could go down in history as the man who….(fill in the gap)

  42. 42 Kinde Dec 19th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    President, Beles Zenawi,the prime misery of Ethiopia for 18 years now should be in a state of disarray because he has lost his legitimate States madness by his own foolish proposal to sell African continent to rich countries where he has been spited and exposed at the Copenhagen’s climate meeting and for he is no longer a trusted corrupt by his Western boses for free rides even to sit with them at the meal tables and gobble chops, let alone to sell our African continent.

    He is now in a kind of messy situation it is because he didn’t win a western bribe money pot if he was to succeed in a sell off Africa which he didn’t,he must be in a big disarray by now as to how to deal with his clique army,snipers and bodygards that may brawl at him when he comes home a bare handed without western bribe money pot,he mutst be a worried man for sure.

  43. 43 Zenawi Dec 19th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Dealing any thing about Africa with a war criminal such as Zenawi is the same making a deal with Bin Laden.

    EU, US and Asia must not commit the biggest mistake of the 21st century by making a contract with thug known as Meles Zenawi.

    He must be put in jail ASAP. Otherwise he will be terminated soon for his crimes.

  44. 44 Kinde Dec 20th, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Nothing goes well for this thug Zenawi for he thought he would patch of his badly broken 2005 election image, infact he made it worse by going Copenhagen. What a foolish criminal that he is?

  45. 45 Outside Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Africa/Ethiopia.html

    According to the link above the population of Ethiopia was 32 million in 1975. It has more than doubled since then. The evil West and Zenawi appear to have failed spectacularly at genocide. According to several sources the main reasons for deforestation in Ethiopia are cooking fuel and housing needs. It appears that the large population and gross inefficiency are the reasons for Ethiopian deforestation though I do believe that poor government has allowed it to happen.

    I am not African. What I have seen of Ethiopia through film documentary has given the impression of a failed people though that was not the obvious intent of the films. There are no windbreaks around farmland. There are not enough wells. There is little to no water management even though Ethiopia has huge water resources. People insist that education is important and that is good but there is not any visible education in the home.

    The poo slinging in the above comments is uninformative as there are no links to sober factual references regarding the sale of land and genocide. I think that Ethiopia would have been better served if you had not posted and instead spent the time making a halfway efficient stove or planted a tree.

    I agree that one team to represent Africa is laughably inadequate.

  46. 46 goban gergo Jan 10th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    From the beging Meles zenawi was not a person that able to manage even his famlies but he is orderd to continue on power not by it’s citizen .

    The reason is clear, meles going to signe against hi’s country as well as african contnents

    The fact that it is the responsiblty of African nations to respond against meles zenawi who has no educational back ground , the information on meles educational back ground is the work of forgery

  47. 47 Glenna whitley May 1st, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Doubt is the beginning not the end of wisdom. Shrill wire.

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  11. 11 Teryn Norris: Open Letter to Bill McKibben: Blaming Obama for Copenhagen Is Wrong | News from: The Huffington Post - Breaking News and Opinion Trackback on Dec 20th, 2009 at 12:36 am
  12. 12 Teryn Norris: Open Letter to Bill McKibben: Blaming Obama for Copenhagen Is Wrong | Old People News Trackback on Dec 20th, 2009 at 9:22 am
  13. 13 Why Zenawi Betrayed Africa’s Trust at the Copenhagen Climate Summit | ECADF Ethiopian News Trackback on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 10:55 pm
  14. 14 Abugida Ethiopian American Information Center » Why Zenawi Betrayed Africa’s Trust at the Copenhagen Climate Summit - Selam Beyene, Ph.D. Trackback on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 1:49 am
  15. 15 Is Too Little Better Than Too Late? « Asher Trackback on Apr 3rd, 2010 at 6:32 pm
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About Jamie


Jamie is the co-coordinator of 350.org, an international global warming campaign. A recent college graduate, he lives in San Francisco, CA. In 2007, he co-organized Step It Up, a campaign that pulled together over 2,000 climate rallies across the United States to push for strong climate action at the federal level. He's also an early member of the youth climate movement, leading one of Energy Action's first campaigns in 2005: Road to Detroit, a nationwide veggie-oil bus tour to promote sustainable transportation. He's traveled to Montreal and Bali to lobby the UN with youth, but he's a strong believer that change happens in the streets not in meetings. Jamie received the Morris K. Udall award in 2007 and has been recognized by the mighty state of Vermont for his work on climate change. You can also find him blogging at Campus Progress' "Pushback," Changents.com, and 350.org.

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