Madagascar pays the price for cheap European flights, says climate minister | Environment

More than a million people facing Madagascar’s first climate-induced famine are paying the price for cheap flights to Europe and devices such as gas heaters, the country’s environment minister said.

For several years, southern Madagascar has suffered successive droughts of increasing severity, and the situation has deteriorated sharply in recent months. In August, the UN said the country was facing the first global famine linked to climate change. On Tuesday, a representative of the World Food Program referred to a “heartbreaking” visit to the country.

Speaking to the Guardian at Cop26, Baomiavotse Vahinala Raharinirina, Madagascan Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, said the failure of rich countries to meet a $ 100 billion climate finance target means his country will fail. can’t afford to build a water pipeline to alleviate the island’s worst drought. in 40 years.

Developed countries have pledged to provide the $ 100 billion in climate finance to help countries like Madagascar adapt since 2009, but last week that target was further delayed.

Baomiavotse Vahinala Raharinirina, Madagascan Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development Photography: Malagasy government

Raharinirina said a pipeline that would bring water from the north of the island to the drought-stricken south would cost only $ 9 million, but the country could not afford it. “I was wondering three days ago during a negotiating session why it is so difficult for rich countries to pay this money. It is not help. It’s the responsibility, ”she said. “My opinion is that in the north there is a psychological distance to the problem. People see documentaries and pictures but don’t feel it the way we do when I go to the south of my country. “

She added that there was a dissonance between the behavior of Europeans and Americans and the consequences for people in the south of the world, such as the Malagasy, who experience temperatures of 45 degrees all year round with little rainfall, calling the north of the world to reflect on how countries like Madagascar can live “in dignity”.

“The people of the deep south of Madagascar are victims of something they did not do,” she said.

Children try to plow a plantation with cattle in the Great South of Betsimeda, commune of Maroalomainty, district of Ambovombe, Madagascar.
Madagascar is facing its worst drought in 40 years. Photograph: OCHA / Reuters

“They are moving to the west of Madagascar and this is a real risk for biodiversity. When they move, they go directly to protected areas where they can find resources like timber and medicinal plants – things that are normally off-limits, ”she said.

Madagascar is the fifth largest island in the world and is home to many animals and plants that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. More than 600 new species were discovered between 1999 and 2010.

Raharinirina argued that cheap flights to the north of the world should be banned and urged Britons not to travel to popular holiday destinations such as Spain. “We should ban low-cost flights where you sometimes have two people to go from Paris to Madrid or from Edinburgh to Vienna. It is an expensive flight for the people of my country. They pay the price.

“In September, I was attending the IUCN congress in Marseille, and I was totally shocked to see people dine in front of restaurants they were heating up. [with gas]. It should be illegal, ”she said.

“There are a lot of things that should be changed in the way of life of many Europeans, North Americans or Chinese. You have to make a choice or make a sacrifice.

Lee J. Murillo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *