Climate change
Climate change

As the world’s poorest region, Africa is believed to be among regions that bear the worst consequences of climate change, namely, an increase in average global temperatures.

HIGHLY VULNERABLE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change
Climate change

Africa will be seriously “affected by the effects of climate change,” Olusola Olutayo-David, an expert in climate change matters and chief executive officer at the Lagos-based Panache Concepts Integrated Nig. Ltd., told Xinhua.

Natural events and human activities, including the increase of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, are believed to be contributing to climate change, he said.

Although Africa contributes very little to global warming, the socio-economic consequences of climate change spare no nation, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said at a recent forum.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far ranging impact on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said recently.

“Desertification is growing in Africa as deforestation increases. Although Africa is a low polluter because of its limited industrialization, it tends to suffer the consequences of high pollution elsewhere,” Munene Macharia, a lecturer on international relations at the U.S. International University (USIU) in Nairobi, Kenya, told Xinhua.
President Buhari said Nigeria is affected by extreme weather variations, excessive rainfall, erosion and floods, land degradation, encroaching desertification and rising sea levels, to mention a few.

These developments, said Buhari, have devastating human costs and further affect Nigerians’ survival, their livelihood and food security.

Isabelle Kamariza, Rwanda’s representative to the One Young World forum, said that with 80 percent of its population dependent on agriculture, Rwanda is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and has suffered a lot in recent years due to an increase in droughts and floods.

“It will be (a) disaster for South Africa and Africa if temperatures are not reduced especially (for) the agricultural sector,” said Albi Modise, spokesperson for the South African Department of Water and Environment Affairs.

DEVELOPED COUNTRIES URGED TO HELP

“South Africa aligns itself with other African countries in calling for the developed countries to pay for the damages resulting from the effects of climate change. We strongly need help with finance and technology to fast track the transition to green economy,” Modise said.

South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday called for a fair and ambitious legally-binding agreement on climate change at the ongoing 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.

As the host of the negotiations at the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa has a special interest in doing all that it can to ensure the success of the Paris conference, Zuma said.

“To be successful, the new agreement must be fair. Fairness would imply respect for the Convention’s principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” said Zuma.

The South African president urged developed countries to offer help to developing ones to mitigate global warming.

“The provision of financial resources, technology transfer and development, and capacity building, is central to the Paris agreement,” he said. “The reality is that without adequate, predictable and sustainable means of implementation, it will be impossible to reach our agreed (two degrees Celsius) temperature target.”
This is because the key mitigation potential is in developing countries and these countries are not able to realize this potential on their own, he added.

A statement from the Rwandan government said Tuesday that the country hopes that a new legally binding global agreement can be reached at the Paris climate conference, which has been lasting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

“Rwanda will go to Paris calling for greater action on climate change and for more and better financing for vulnerable nations. We will also share our experience in implementing innovative environment conservation programs and work with international partners to mobilize resources,” Rwandan Natural Resources Minister Vincent Biruta said.

He said the ultimate objective is to reach an agreement that prevents the impacts of climate change and supports poor countries to respond and adapt to a warming planet.

“As a party to the UN (Framework) Convention on Climate Change, our expectation from Paris is to come up with a new agreement that enables all countries to combat climate change effectively and that accelerates the transition toward low-carbon societies and economies,” Biruta said.

“The suggestion that Africa get paid for not polluting is double edged in that it implies delay of economic growth while serving as a big absorption sponge for exported pollution,” said Macharia, the lecturer with USIU in Nairobi.

This, however, can be mitigated by intensified use of clean energy in big power industries so as to reduce global pollution, Macharia said, appealing developed countries to “assist Africa to industrialize through clean energy and technologically advanced ecology-friendly systems.”

COOPERATION WITH CHINA

China, the largest developing country in the world, has expressed hopes that “a powerful, ambitious and legally binding deal” can be reached at the Paris conference on the basis of equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

While advocating coordinated actions in face of global warming, China has called on the rich nations to live up to their promises on funding and technology transfer to help the poor ones.

“Climate change is a global challenge at which no country can stand on their own. Developed and developing countries have different historical responsibilities for climate change, and different development needs and capabilities,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a written interview with Reuters in October.

Ali Mohamed, a senior advisor to the Kenyan Presidency on climate change, said Nairobi considers Beijing as a strategic partner in advancing green agenda and sustainable development in the country.

“We have initiated a number of bilateral pacts with China that focus on environmental sustainability, trade and technology transfer. Kenya looks up to China to help implement a national climate strategy through adoption of clean technologies,” Mohamed told Xinhua.

At the ceremony to launch the fourth annual sustainability report by Kenya’s leading mobile phone company Safaricom, Mohamed said China has been a source of expertise and innovations that have advanced the green agenda in his country.

“China is a leading source of solar technologies that have been embraced by local communities as we move away from carbon emitting energy sources,” Mohamed said.

China-Kenya bilateral environment cooperation has focused on capacity development and skills transfer to strengthen the conservation of ecosystems.

Mohamed said Chinese investments in renewable energy and modern transport infrastructure has contributed immensely to the green agenda and poverty reduction in Kenya.

“China has been instrumental in accelerating our transition to clean energy through investments in mega geothermal projects. A partnership between Chinese and local firms has facilitated assembling of solar panels in the country,” said Mohamed.

He added that Chinese-funded infrastructure projects such as the construction of a standard gauge railway will help reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector.

Kenyan green advocates support robust cooperation with China to boost the war against climate change.
Wangari Maathai, chairperson of the Green Belt Movement, said China has revitalized the global green agenda through technology transfer and mass production of solar panels.

“As a country, we have an opportunity to learn and domesticate China’s model of shifting away from fossil fuels that are to blame for rising carbon emissions,” Maathai said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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