Ravages of climate change will catch Africa napping
Posted Thursday, October 15 2009 at 22:00
- Developing nations demand financial aid from rich countries to combat problem
One thing that came out clearly at the conclusion of the parliamentary summit on Climate Change on Thursday was that the continent needs to speak with one voice on the issue.
Participants agreed that Africa is least prepared in terms of resources and technology, to deal with the negative consequences of climate change yet it contributed very little towards it.
If they pushed their agenda collectively, the delegates resolved, they would be taken more seriously than if they did it individually.
And to demonstrate this, the MPs from Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Togo, Cameroon and Namibia jointly came up with a declaration which, if implemented, would greatly assist the continent combat the negative effects of climate change.
The declaration contains a list of demands the legislators want included in the deal to be hammered out at the December climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
on Thursday, President Kibaki officially received the declaration at State House, Nairobi, with a promise to forward it to other African Heads of State for action.
According to their proposals, the legislators want rich countries to be compelled to provide adequate financial assistance to developing states to enable them access climate-friendly technologies that would assist them combat this problem.
And as such, they want the rich countries to set aside at least 1.5 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) per year to support Africa cope with the climate-related shocks.
According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change will threaten economic growth and long-term prosperity, as well as survival of the most vulnerable populations, most of who live in developing countries.
IPCC projects that if emissions continue to rise at their current pace and are allowed to double from pre-industrial levels, the world will face an average temperature rise of 3°C this century.
This will lead to a rise in sea-level, shifts in seasons, and more frequent and intense extreme weather such as storms, floods and droughts.
Climate analyses indicate that, should this happen, Kenya will very likely be warmer by up to five degrees by 2100.
Droughts will continue, possibly becoming more severe while in other parts of the country, rains could become more intense, leading to floods.
The rise in sea level could affect Mombasa, with one study suggesting that 17 per cent of the island could be submerged by a rise in sea level of up to 30 centimetres.
According to proposals by climate change lobby groups, the continent requires at least $200 billion a year, in annual public funding, to adequately and effectively meet these challenges.
Kenya has already indicated that it requires at least $20 billion annually to enable it tackle the problem.
Environment minister John Michuki says the money will be used to boost projects in various sectors of the economy to assist the country beat the crisis.