African continent remains most vulnerable to climate change

05Feb 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
African continent remains most vulnerable to climate change

France is aiming to tackle climate change in Africa—and it wants China to help.Last year, China was the biggest producer of greenhouse gas, with its production estimates ranging from 23 per cent to 26.8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, the entire continent of Africa produced

just 3.8 per cent to global emissions.

During his visit to China, French president Emmanuel Macron said both countries should collaborate to address climate-action while working on development projects in Africa.

CHANCES are improving of the world coming closer to implement the Paris Accords on climate change globally, especially with regard to meeting set targets for reducing the production – and releasing to the ozone layer – of noxious carbon dioxide, methane and similar gases. The crucial problem has usually been the part that the United |States is supposed to play, as most countries tend to leverage their own contributions to noxious gases and climate change responsibility burden on the US. China for instance says it is a developing country and its economy is still developing in per capita terms, while in terms of individual countries it is second largest polluter.


Whether or not recent catastrophic events in the Caribbean and the United States have had a bearing in US decision making is one thing, but it is a fact that a shift in position has been noticed, where the US is seeking minimal or substantial concessions to go along with the Paris Accords on climate change. President Donald Trump was elected on a scorecard of withdrawal of the US from climate change processes, as naysayers in the US believe that global warming is hocus pocus. It is an age old difference between philosophies of stability where cycles of minor spikes or dips are possible (in world temperatures) and an intuition of change in a broader sense.


In relation to US and global debates, we have usually been involved in genetic modification issues as it directly affects what we do, with the same variations of sentiment being noticed in climate science, but not on the same parameters. Activists change places, as those who advocate genetic modification (change of species, destruction of traditional varieties) become the movers or activists for change, while those who espouse climate change become rank conservatives in relation to genetic modification. They espouse stability and natural variation, defending regional distribution of species instead of invading all agricultural lands with genetically made varieties.


There is an area where activists in Europe and America as well as in our countries have similar positions, namely in climate change, that the debate narrows gown to limiting the production of noxious gases, which in our case becomes synonymous with holding back on the use of coal as a source of energy. It would also be appropriate to diminish the pace of using natural gas in factory or domestic energy needs and instead go for renewable like hydropower, wind power and solar power. On account of poor demand structure and intense layout needs before a renewable energy source is operational, reliance on existing means shall continue, with renewable on slow spread.


Still there is a sphere where Africa could easily become more proactive, if senior government officials and NGO activists abandoned their habit of seeing themselves as holders of the balance between US and China disputes in global energy policies or options, financing formulas, etc. It is more appropriate for us to design workable methods for instance in lieu with the World Bank and development banks, to change arid and semi-arid regions into vegetation by dam building and sprinkle irrigation. When such areas are placed in the hands of investors with medium range title to the lend, 33 years to 66 years, they could revegetate it and lease to developers for affordable rent to recover costs, meanwhile as they pay back the funds for their being invested in similar projects else where.If such programs are adopted all over Africa, in ten years time the Sahel belt shall have returned to ‘green pastures;’ more ambitious methods could be devised for the Sahara.