Groups say foreign aid to Africa should be joined with climate action

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s top two agenda items for the upcoming G8 meeting of industrialized countries — aid to Africa and climate change — are intimately linked, say a pair of new reports. Britain’s leading scientific body, the Royal Society, argues that Africans are uniquely vulnerable to climate change, as more extreme temperatures and changes in rainfall are likely to be particularly ruinous on a continent where 70 percent of people rely on small-scale, rain-fed agriculture. Meanwhile, the Working Group on Climate Change and Development, a coalition of green and charity groups, argues that efforts to reduce poverty in Africa are hopeless without concomitant efforts from G8 countries to reduce their own greenhouse-gas emissions, increase support for local renewable-energy and small-scale farming projects in Africa, and end their exploitation of the continent’s fossil fuels. The group’s exhortation to “join the dots” comes at a bad time for Blair, who’s got the aid dot more or less under control, but is running into resistance (cough U.S. cough) on the climate-change dot.