Africa’s getting serious on climate change

Posted on August 8, 2015 11:31 am

Almost a decade ago,African countries played a significant role in shaping the agenda for the global debate on climate change and a possible replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, a legally-binding instrument for nations to handle the impact of climate change.The continent was well represented in the UN climate change conference in 2007 held in Bali Indonesia and which I attended,African countries have been active in voicing an agenda relevant to developing countries, such as the transfer of funds and technology from developed to less developed countries in the continent to handle the threat. A new research paper by a South Africa University intends to estimate the potential impact of climate change on Africa’s agricultural sector.Yield response regression models are used to investigate the climate change’s impact on more than 100 crops grown across sub Saharan Africa. According to a student who is involved in that research, price-endogenous mathematical programming model is being used to simulate the welfare impacts of yield changes under various climate change scenarios. Initial results suggest that both warming and climate variations have a significant but non-monotonic impact on crop yields.

Society as a whole would not suffer from warming, but a precipitation increase may be devastating to farmers.African countries are also fighting to include forests as a key element in the global’s arsenal against climate change.Africa is globally considered as one of the least advanced regions in the fields of seismic monitoring and has the lowest concentration of monitoring stations, with less than 100 currently in operation. Such system evaluates and distributes critical information about earthquakes immediately after they strike but Africa has been lucky not to have such calamities. The challenges posed by climate change have continued to grow during the past decade. No African country is immune to the impact of global warming, and so it is of extreme importance that we address these challenges in a global manner to ensure our planet’s sustainable development.However, Africa seems to have lost clout in climate negotiations.Successive international summits, meanwhile, have failed to reach an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol and Africa seems to be paying a heavy price.

The late Professor Wangari Maathai, Kenya’s and Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner wanted to be seen as a champion of the climate change issue and made it one of her main areas of focus but since her demise the continent seems to have lost an internationally recognized figure to lead the fight against conservation of environment.Faced with severe challenges posed by climate change, Africa’s efforts over the past few years to reduce carbon emissions have already yielded concrete results. African countries like Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania have also aggressively initiated a plan to build low carbon homes with Chinese and American investors investing heavily. As part of this plan, rural villages in Nyanza area in Kenya and cities have been selected as model communities with low-carbon and sustainable environments, aiming to encourage the people of Lakeside region in Kenya to actively participate in the development of such a homeland. Meanwhile, Uganda is said to be working with an Indian company in promoting eco-friendly motorcycle battery exchange systems while in South Africa geographic information systems for bicycle road networks, and hybrid cars is already gaining traction. South Africa also plans to replace all traditional buses in urban areas with electric buses in the coming decade, to gradually establish a low-carbon transportation infrastructure.

Contador Harrison