Climate Change (204)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - The Sixth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA–VI) has kicked off in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, with climate experts, government representatives and civil society organisations examining how implementation of the Paris Agreement will impact the continent.

The agreement is an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), seeking for reduction of emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adaptation and mitigation of the impact of climate change, and financing of those activities.

 “The Paris Agreement heralds bold steps towards de-carbonizing the global economy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels,” said James Murombedzi, the Officer in Charge at the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC).

However, added Murombedzi, “There are contentious nuances of the agreement that must be unpacked in the context of Africa’s development priorities, particularly in regard to the means of implementation which were binding provisions of the Kyoto Protocol and currently only non-binding decisions in the Paris Agreement.”

The Paris Agreement on climate change is set to come into effect before the end of the year, with over 80 countries already having ratified the pact, which aims at limiting the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue more ambitious efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in this century.

For one week, the participants in the Addis Ababa conference will be reviewing the accord so as to provide a contextual analysis of what was at stake for Africa and what the Agreement offers, prior to COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco 7-18 November 2016, thereby contributing to strategic orientation for African countries in moving forward with the implementation of the Agreement.

The basis of the Paris Agreement is the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted by all parties in the lead up to COP21as their national contributions to limiting global greenhouse gas emissions. INDCs became Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) subsequent to COP21 in Paris.

The main theme of CCDA–VI, organized under the auspices of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) programme, is “The Paris Agreement on climate change: What next for Africa?”

The experts observed that mplementation of the agreement has significant implications for Africa as the continent that will be most severely impacted by the adverse impacts of weather variability and climate change.

It was further observed that the continent is already experiencing climate-induced impacts, such as frequent and prolonged droughts and floods, as well as environmental degradation that make livelihoods difficult for rural and urban communities.

Increasing migration on the continent is therefore both triggered and amplified by climate change.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) -Kenya is among 15 African countries that have been commended for ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change by representatives of over 1000 civil society organisations in Africa, ahead of the Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In the same vein, Kenya's Cabinet last week approved the National Climate Change Policy Framework, which provides a roadmap for coordinated response to climate change and urban development. The framework has been submitted to Parliament for adoption.

The country is now among the 81 countries globally that have ratified the climate change agreement out of the 197 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Speaking at the UN conference centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, James Murombedzi of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) hailed Kenya for championing ambitious climate policies in the run-up to Paris and by spearheading the implementation process.

"Kenya has set an example that should be emulated by the remaining African countries to demonstrate their commitment to concrete actions. We commend Kenya's ratification as this is important to delivering the expected results," Murombedzi said.

Mithika Mwenda, the secretary general of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said Kenya's step now paves way for it to benefit from the money the civil society is pushing for.

"Kenya now stands to benefit from the $100 billion pledged by developed countries to developing ones and that even larger sums be leveraged from investors, banks and the private sector that can build towards the $7 trillion needed to support a world-wide transformation on climate change," Mwenda said.

Kenya has also enacted Climate Change Act, 2016 which provides a regulatory framework for enhanced response to achieve low carbon climate resilient development.

Other policy measures to achieve a green economy in Kenya are the National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017, Climate Change Response Strategy 2010 and Environmental Management and Coordination Act CAP 387.

Environment Cabinet Secretary (CS) noted Government has identified nine areas where urgent mitigation actions should be undertaken using the billions of shillings.

"Among the nine are restoration of forests and degraded lands, developing an additional 2,275 megawatts of geothermal energy, restoration of degraded forests, encouraging Kenyans to use improved cookstoves and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and agroforestry," she said.

Others include bus rapid transit and light rail corridors, develop greenhouse gas inventory and improvement of emissions data, measuring, reporting on and monitoring forestry emissions and sinks and mainstreaming of low-carbon development options into planning processes.

"To achieve the above, Government needs to undertake a programme of work to restore forests on 960,000 hectares up to 2030 including dryland forest restoration activities, developing, testing and application of compensation and benefits-sharing mechanisms and develop an additional 2,275 MW of geothermal capacity by 2030 through a support programme aimed at encouraging private sector investment," Wakhungu said.

The country also needs to undertake a programme of work to replant forests on 240,000 hectares of land that were previously forests, increase awareness of improved cooking practices, undertaking pilot initiatives which promote the use of LPG, increasing awareness of stove quality, increasing access to soft loans, building capacity of stove producers, and improving access to testing facilities.

She said the country needs to convert 281,000 hectares of existing arable cropland and grazing land that have medium or high agricultural potential to agroforestry and implement an extensive mass transit system for greater Nairobi, based predominantly on bus rapid transit corridors complemented by a few Light Rail Transit corridors as other mitigation measures.

Others include developing a national forest inventory, forest reference scenario, and a monitoring and reporting system that allows for transparent accounting of emissions and removals in the forestry and land-use sectors.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC also congratulated countries that have ratified the agreement.
"This is a truly historic moment for people everywhere. The two key thresholds needed for the Paris Climate Change Agreement to become legal reality have now been met," she said.

She added, "The speed at which countries have made the Paris Agreement's entry into force possible is unprecedented in recent experience of international agreements and is a powerful confirmation of the importance nations attach to combating climate change and realizing the multitude of opportunities inherent in the Paris Agreement.

Under the Paris Agreement, governments are obligated to take action to achieve the temperature goals enshrined in the Agreement – keeping the average global temperature rise from pre-industrial times below 2 degrees C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

The CCDA conference is an annual event by the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme and a joint initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Africa is using the conference to forge a common ground ahead of the UN climate conference, known as COP22, in Marrakesh, Morocco next month.

The Secretary General of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance, an umbrella network that brings together over 1000 civil society groups that advocate for climate justice prays that Donald Trump, the American Presidential aspirant on a Republican ticket in the United States of America will lose the election.

According to Mithika Mwenda, Donald Trump is definitely going to derail the progress made so far in the fight against climate change, given his belief that the phenomenon is just but a Chinese Hoax.

“I believe in God, and I pray every day that this man gets defeated, so that all of us can forget about him and concentrate on the fight against climate change,” Mithika told a delegation of journalists and civil society organisations in Addis Ababa, ahead of the sixth Climate Change and Development Conference (CCDA-VI).

Trump has come under heavy criticisms especially from his opponent Hillary Clinton, for his remarks on twitter that; "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

In one of the presidential debates, Trump further said that the issue of climate change is an issue that requires further probing, and that money used to fight the phenomenon should be channeled to other uses.

"There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of climate change. Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water. Perhaps we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world like malaria,” said the republican nominee.

Perhaps, he continued, “We should focus on efforts to increase food production to keep pace with an ever-growing world population. Perhaps we should be focused on developing energy sources and power production that alleviates the need for dependence on fossil fuels. We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous,” he added.

Evidence based studies have shown that climatic conditions have been changing over the years as a result of excess emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. (The greenhouse gases are compounds that are able to trap heat in the atmosphere, giving earth warmth that makes life thrive. But when they are over-emitted, they make the earth much warmer than naturally expected, leading to climate change).

The USA is one of the heaviest emitters of these gases, which include carbon dioxide, which is mostly emitted due to industrialisation.

“Science has proven that the climate is changing, and the most affected areas are found in Africa,” said Mithika. “Anyone who denies these scientific evidence based facts does not deserve any position of leadership in this world,” he added.

So far, countries have been negotiating on roadmaps towards the fight against climate change through the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC). Following the 21st round of negotiations in Paris, countries including USA came up with an agreement that details what should be done in order to reduce the emissions, adapt to the prevailing conditions and how to finance those activities.

In the same vein, some Americans have been calling for prosecution of climate deniers who like Donald Trump, made people believe that climate change was a hoax.

“We need politicians to be part of this climate change discourse, and they should be positive thinkers to enable us move forward for the sake of the planet,” said Mithika.



Isaiah Esipisu

 The Christian Aid, a British based nongovernmental organisation has teamed up with the umbrella of African civil society organisations under the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) to urge environment ministers expected at the ongoing talks to amend the Montreal protocol in Kigali, Rwanda to negotiate for an early phase down date of gases that deplete the ozone layer.

 “It’s fitting that ministers will be arriving here at the summit because it is their governments’ credibility that will be on the line if we don’t get a strong outcome,” said Benson Ireri, the Senior Policy Officer for Africa at Christian Aid.

 The gasses being targeted for the phase down are in the group of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in cooling systems such as refrigerators and air conditioners. The phase down process calls for the manufacturers of these gases to stop doing so, and substitute it with Hydrocarbons (HCs).

 “In the Paris Agreement, national leaders promised to keep global warming to a level well below 2 degrees centigrade and to try their hardest to limit it to 1.5 degrees. However, those promises will ring hollow if we don’t get an early date for the global phase down of HFCs,” said Ireri. 

 “These chemicals are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and are increasing in use by 10-15% a year,” he added.

 Mithika mwenda, the Secretary General for PACJA echoed Ireri’s sentiments, saying that the phase down is a key mitigation action, which will enable the global community to meet the provisions of the Paris Agreement.

 “It would be disastrous for communities at the frontline of climate crisis if the  Agreement came into force next month and countries had failed their  first test by failing to agree on an ambitious deal during this 28th  Session of Montreal Procotol,” said Mwenda.

 According to Ireri, the vulnerable countries do not have time to wait because the climate is changing fast. “Phasing down HFCs is something which we absolutely must do if we’re going to honour the pledges of the Paris Agreement,” he said.

 “It’s time for ministers to step on the gas and ensure phase down dates in the early 2020s,” added Ireri.



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