Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Tutu warns of climate change 'hell' in Africa

Young reporter Annie, 15, from Maidenhill School, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

By Annie, 15, from Maidenhill School, Gloucestershire
Reporting from Copenhagen for BBC News School Report

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has praised young people for fighting for climate justice in Copenhagen.

Tutu speaks to young journalists

The Archbishop, who was at the crucial UN conference to ensure poorer countries get a fair deal, said: "It's great to see so many young people at the summit. They are right to say 'this is our world too, you elders have made a mess of things and should get out of the way'."

The 78-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner also voiced his concern that the proposed two degrees centigrade cap on the average global temperature would be catastrophic for his native Africa.

He said: "In Africa, this would mean an increase of three to four degrees centigrade - and that's hell.

"We used to have spring, summer, autumn and winter but now the seasons have become completely unpredictable; we are really at the mercy of the heavens.

"When you don't have food, when you don't have shelter, when you begin to suffer from disease such as malaria and cholera, those are human rights issues, especially when it is something which is caused by human action."

Disaster

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is filmed by a young reporter at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
The disaster is already in progress, but we have it in our power to end this injustice.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The veteran human rights campaigner had earlier listened to graphic accounts from people who had witnessed first-hand the terrible effects of climate change.

One woman from Bangladesh was on the brink of tears as she described how her home was swept away by cyclone Sidr in 2007.

Archbishop Tutu added: "It is vital that we hear stories like these. We must listen to competing voices and act upon them. The disaster is already in progress, but we have it in our power to end this injustice."

When asked what he does at home to combat climate change, Archbishop Tutu said: "I want to be resting with my grandchildren, but I'm here! That is what I am doing."


Annie, who is attending the second week of the summit with NGO Plan International, interviewed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, on Monday. He shared his frustration at the lack of progress. Read Annie's report.



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