#ClimateChange: Africa’s Survival is at Risk (2)

In last week’s edition, we exhaustively examined the risks of climate change to Africa. Scientists have propounded that although the continent makes no significant contribution to global warming, it will be severely struck by its impact; in the form of temperature rise, endangered ecosystems, disrupted rainfall, droughts, water stress, reduced agricultural yields, and more strained access to energy, to mention a few.

In this edition, we highlight the impacts of Global greenhouse (GHG) and proffer some moves African Nations can make in taking action to combat climate change and its impacts” (SDGs 13)

Impacts of Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Currently, total annual emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are rising. Over the last three decades, GHG emissions have increased by an average of 1.6% per year with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the use of fossil fuels growing at a rate of 1.9% per year.

The stabilisation of green house gas concentrations in the atmosphere by the end of the century is needed to maintain an increase in temperature at 2 degrees at most – corresponding to 450ppm of CO² equivalent.

The largest growth in global GHG emissions between 1970 and 2004 has come from the energy supply sector (an increase of 145%).

The growth in direct emissions in this period from transport was 120%, industry 65% and land use, land use change, and forestry 40%.

Between 1970 and 1990, direct emissions from agriculture grew by 27% and from buildings by 26%, and the latter remained at approximately 1990 levels thereafter.

Despite continuous improvements in energy intensities, global energy use and supply are projected to continue to grow, especially as developing countries pursue industrialisation. The projected emissions of energy-related CO2 in 2030 are 40–110 % higher than in 2000 (with two thirds to three quarters of this increase originating in non-Annex I countries), although per capita emissions in developed countries will remain substantially higher.

For 2030, GHG emission projections (Kyoto gases) consistently show a 25–90% increase compared to 2000, with more recent projections being higher than earlier ones.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the annual per capita emissions of CO2 (2004) are estimated at one ton.

Projections estimate that climate change will lead to an equivalent of slightly less than 2% to 4% annual loss in GDP in Africa by 2040 (including market and non-market sectors, without adaptation).

By 2100, it is estimated that climate change will lead to an equivalent annual loss in GDP in Africa of 10% (including market and non-market sectors, without adaptation), with an upper value equivalent to an annual 25% GDP loss by 2100.

Adaptation could (but not entirely) reduce the economic costs of climate change in Africa significantly, from 2% to 1% of GDP by 2040 (that is, from $ 230 billion to $ 148 billion), and from 10% to 7% of GDP by 2100 ($ 530 billion to $ 349 billion with a business as usual (BAU) scenario).

Without mitigation, however, a magnitude of climate change is likely to be reached that makes adaptation impossible for some natural systems, while for most human systems, it would involve very high social and economic costs.

To limit the temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, developed countries would need to reduce emissions in 2020 by 25–40% below 1990 levels and in 2050 by approximately 80–95%. With less than 3% of the world’s total emissions of green house gases, the African continent makes no significant contribution to global warming. Yet, it faces the most danger.

How then Should Africa Come in?

Active Climate Change Actions: Although Morocco (an African country) ranks 5th in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), making it the second lead in climate action amongst the fifty- six (56) evaluated countries and the EU, the other African countries on the list (Algeria, Egypt and South Africa) rank low in the ranking (Egypt ranks medium). This ranking clearly reflects the situation of most countries on the African continent. Considering vulnerabilities, African countries need to be at the fore of climate actions by limiting their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, fully embracing renewable energy across all sectors of the various economies, promoting clean energy use, as well as instituting and staying committed to climate policies.

·Drive Climate Action Advocacies: Despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June 2017, US and Australia’s devotion to coal, and the hesitation of the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait to welcome the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, African nations need not be discouraged. As the Conference of the Parties Twenty-Four (COP24) ended last week, African nations are expected to not only actively participate in climate change actions but also refocus their efforts at advocating for the global pursuance of the very objectives of the conference, to ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and national commitments in accordance with the decisions adopted in Paris (COP21) and in Marrakesh (CMA1.1). With fifty-four (54) African countries of about 1.2billion population, a lot can be achieved especially in this age of technology and the social media, coupled with the leadership of the most populous country of China, in pushing the Paris Agreement.

Invest in Research and Development: One of the assurances that the temperature target (to keep temperatures between 1.5OC and 2OC) can still be achieved is the continuous research work into climate change mitigating possibilities, as well as research and development of clean alternative sources of energy. For instance, a side event at the COP24 intended to showcase ways fossil fuels can be used as cleanly and efficiently as possible, and also how nuclear energy can be used emission-free. Clearly, several continent-specific means of reducing Greenhouse gas emissions, exploring clean alternative energy, and mitigating the threats of climate change can be discovered only if the government and private sector actors invest in credible Research and Development across Africa.

·Active Participation of all Sectors: Trends reveal that countries leading in climate change actions are making progress based on the leadership of their governments and the determination and participation of other sectors of their economies. African countries need to take a cue from this by providing policy leadership (government), abiding by policies and exploring/embracing climate-safe activities (private sector), promoting and advocating for climate change actions (NGOs), engaging in basic clean climate activities and being actively involved in the fight against climate change (the people).

–As we approach the year 2020, when countries need to submit their amended national climate targets (revised Nationally Determined Contributions NDCs), urgent active efforts by African governments and its peoples can only reflect its readiness to avoid the looming survival risk.

Summary of the Projected impacts of climate change in Africa

By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.

By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition.

Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large populations.

By 2080, an increase of 5 to 8% of arid and semi-arid land in Africa is projected under a range of climate scenarios (TS).

The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5 to 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Editor’s Note: This article is a modified excerpt from CSRFiles Journal (Power Edition).Complete feature and references are accessible on:

www.sustainableconvos.com

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