Climate and Global Warming: Impact and Action

Climate change, according to the United Nations, refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. The changes could be caused naturally but since the1800s human activity has been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels as coal, oil and gas. It [climate change] has become a poignant challenge in our time, and tackling it, especially in developing countries, especially Africa, is important but is not actually a priority considering the economic circumstances and the needs hierarchy of such countries. Considering that industrialized nations contribute more than 79 percent of carbon emissions in the world one would think that they would provide the financial help needed by the least developed countries (LDCs) to tackle the issue, but they have been most unwilling to provide help.

LDCs account for only 1.1 percent of the total global emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes. In capital terms LDCs carbon dioxide emissions are barely nine percent of the world’s average in spite of the developed countries accounting for just 12 percent of the global population today. The biggest fight at the United Nations climate change summit at the Glasgow conference in 2021 was how the world’s wealthiest nations that are disproportionately responsible for global warming must bear the biggest cost of damages to compensate the poorer nations of the world, according to the New York Times.

The impact of climate change needs the attention of every nation, but the warning is falling on deaf ears. Greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. Gas emitted from motor vehicles or coal for heating homes, as well as landfills for garbage are all sources for methane emissions. Human activity like transport, agriculture and land use in general are all the main culprits. And they continue to rise with devastating impact not only on the health of the world, but on its economy as well.

An aspect of human activity that is putting human life and water bodies at risk in some developing nations are endangering plant life and whole forests. In Ghana and some developing countries illegal mining is polluting river bodies and killing life in riverine environment. The practice locally called galamsey, a corrupted pronunciation of ‘gather them and sell,’ that used to be safe and not so common is now attracting foreigners and young people. It is hazardous to the miners, plant and life in the rivers.

A draft report of a six-billion-dollar mining deal in Congo DR to acquire some mining and other concessions and described as ‘unconscionable’ by a global anti-corruption body of governments, companies and activists sighted by Reuters indicate that the compact signed in 2008 is being reviewed. If it is approved, a considerable chunk of Congo DR’s tropical forest would be under the control and exploitation of Chinese companies. And there will be no guarantee of control over land use. It could further reduce checks on the impact of greenhouse effects on parts of West and East Africa worsening climate change. Similar land grab exercises that could result in climatic and weather changes are also going on elsewhere.  The financial considerations are attractive and could overwhelm landowners. But intentions of land speculators and buyers are suspect. And countries with the intention of granting such concessions to foreign investors must consider the effects on neighbors.

Climate change affects human health and in particular people living in developing countries; and on small islands sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion have caused populations to relocate while in the tropics and other places protracted droughts are putting people at risk of famine. Environmental

experts predict what they term “climate refugees.” It has therefore become imperative for nations to work together to check the advancement of the impact and its excesses. In places where tropical forests are being reduced to deserts it has become important to plant trees. Where logging is a major industry, replacement of trees felled has become more than imperative. It is a moral exercise. 

Amandla therefore calls on nations around the world and national leaders to work together to ensure that plant life is part of the fight against climate change, and becomes as important as the production of food.  Conservation of forest lands and the use of land other than agriculture leading to the pollution of water bodies also deserve serious attention.

It is unfortunate that the advanced economies are not providing enough aid to African nations to help in the fight against climate change. According to the African Development Bank the continent remains the most vulnerable. Sub-Saharan agriculture is rain fed as do other weather-sensitive activities, such as herding and fishing. The 10 countries considered the most affected in the region include Mozambique (1st), Malawi (3rd), Ghana and Madagascar (jointly at 8th position). The need for $3 trillion investment in mitigation and adaptation by 2030 is obviously far from realizing and needs foreign intervention. But other mitigation strategies and programs are available and can be adapted. Solar power, among several alternative (power) sources, are available for governments and even foreign investment. Alternative agricultural practices that limit stress on farming lands are also available.

Amandla believes that a myriad of palliative measures is abound to provide relief for African nations considered most vulnerable. Fact is anything done to ease global warming and climate change benefits everyone.

Posted by on Sep 13 2022. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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