Climate change: Where is Africa’s voice?


THIS week unusually high temperatures hit the country.
While this is a manifestation of a phenomena known as climate change, two issues immediately come to mind.
First, the continued emission of gases that destroy the ozone layer by highly industrialised nations.
Second, the fact that Africa continues to be silent while it is on the receiving end of the recklessness of those powerful nations.
We have bemoaned Africa’s silence when it comes to matters that affect it.
We have said Africa must rise.
We have said Africa must speak as and with one voice in global affairs.
Are we not letting down future generations, when as a continent we remain mum when the motherland is being torn apart like this?
When shall we speak as Africa?
There is a monster in the house.
And this creature called climate change is not Africa’s creation.
But it is Africans that are being devoured by this monster.
In November 2015 the world converged in Paris, France for a climate change summit.
A policy known as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted by all 196 countries at COP21 in Paris.
But it is facing serious threats from nations that are reneging on their pledges to adhere to the Paris Agreement’s long-term objective to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius.
Of particular concern is the stance taken by US President Donald Trump on this issue of climate change.
In June this year, Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Paris Agreement because according to him, the US would only start negotiations to ‘re-enter either the Paris Accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the US’.
What is disappointing is that the US is the second biggest emitter of gas emissions in the world.
Yet Africa is saying or doing nothing about this American arrogance.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries set their own greenhouse gas emission reduction targets with the objective of limiting global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks of continued warming, to strive for 1,5 degrees Celsius.
I have said there is a monster in the house.
Here is why.
Global average temperatures have already climbed by almost one degree Celsius and there is a real possibility that the future might bring more climate change-induced catastrophes.
Revelations by the Climate Interactive Research Group (CIRG) in a recent report are scary.
A recent study by the group shows that the Paris pledges had instead put the world off track for 3,5 degrees Celsius of warming against the targeted below two degrees Celsius.
A separate analysis by Climate Action Tracker does not have good news for the world either and Africa will be worst affected.
It projects that many developed nations are aiming for warming of 2,7 degrees Celsius.
In June this year, President Robert Mugabe attended the Oceans Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Many criticised him, but as the recent weather patterns have shown, the world is in trouble if nothing is done to curb climate change problems.
I will quote from President Mugabe’s speech.
“The effects of climate change are not discriminatory, so please down with your sanctions,” Mugabe said.
“My country is committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will do so within the means available to it.”
The current heat wave is a worse sign of things to come, if Africa remains mum on climate change.


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