Climate Change (204)

With less than a month before the annual climate change conference slated for Morocco, African Climate Experts are expected to meet in Addis Ababa Ethiopia from 18-20 October, to brainstorm what next for Africa after the Paris Agreement.

Convened under the auspices of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme, the Sixth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA–VI), is set to discuss, in the African context, nuances, challenges and opportunities of implementing the Paris Agreement.

According to James Murombedzi, Officer –in-Charge at the Africa Climate Policy Centre, “The Paris Agreement heralds bold steps towards decarbonizing the global economy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.”

But of utter most importance for Africa is to understand the implications of the Paris Agreement especially with regards to means of implementation ( Technology transfer and finance), an issue that has never escaped the minds of the African Group of Negotiators, and this is a point that Murombedzi emphasizes for the stakeholders at the upcoming conference.

“However, 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,” said Murombedzi, pointing out the need for Africa not to lose focus on what matters in the implementation stage of the Agreement.

The Paris Agreement on climate change, set to come into effect before the end of the year,  aims to limit 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.

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

Implementation 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. 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 both triggered and amplified by climate change.

Therefore, under the main theme: “The Paris Agreement on climate change: What next for Africa?” CCDA VI is about a critical and contextual analysis of what is at stake for Africa and what the Agreement offers, prior to COP22, in order to contribute to the strategic orientation for African countries in moving forward with the implementation of the Agreement.

And to better articulate the specific objectives and capture the implications of implementing the Paris Agreement for inclusive and sustainable development in Africa, the Conference will be organized under the following sub-themes: Unpacking the Paris Agreement and emerging challenges and opportunities for Africa; Integration of the Paris Agreement into Africa’s development agenda and other global governance frameworks; Linking African initiatives to the implementation of the Paris Agreement; and Emerging challenges from climate change.

CCDA-VI is expected to be attended by policymakers and researchers, young people, civil society organizations, negotiators and the private sector, CCDA-VI will facilitate and enrich the sharing of lessons, key research findings, outreach and policy uptake, as well as stimulate investments.



KIGALI, Rwanda (PAMACC News) – Before the year 1990 most of the refrigeration and air conditioning equipments operated using some gas called chlorofluorocarbon also known as CFC. This is an organic compound that contains only carbon, chlorine, and fluorine, produced as volatile derivative of methane, ethane, and propane. Unfortunately, the CFC was found to be a lethal greenhouse gas that mainly depleted the ozone layer.

With the commitment of the world to reduce emission of greenhouse gases (compounds that are able to trap heat in the atmosphere), because they make the earth much warmer than naturally expected, leading to climate change, the world agreed to phase out CFC, and instead adopted use Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) as a safer option.

However, with more studies, it has become clear that HFCs are not as safe to the environment as earlier thought.

“HFCs were created to replace HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), which in turn replaced CFCs, after it was discovered that the gases were putting a hole in the ozone layer.  But we didn’t realise that in HFCs we had created another thing that is even more devastating than Carbon dioxide,” said Gabi Drinkwater, a Senior Policy expert working for Christian Aid.

And now, scientists are in the process of replacing the HFCs with a new gas formula known as hydrocarbons (HC).

The HC is an elementary compound of hydrogen and carbon which occurs naturally and is found in large concentrations in crude oil. According to experts, non-toxic hydrocarbons are an eco -friendly alternative to the CFC,HCFC and HFC fluorocarbon ozone damaging elements.

It is based on this knowledge that representatives of different states from all over the world are meeting in Kigali Rwanda, to draw a roadmap on how people are going to shift from use of HFC based refrigeration and air conditioning systems to HC based systems.

This calls for countries and companies that have invested so much in production of HFCs to freeze their production. And this has leads to a huge debate related economics of investment. The other argument is about where the existing gadgets will be dumped, and at whose cost.

By the end of the week on October 15, the negotiators will have come up with the way forward to determine when the phase-out should commence, where the funding will come from, and how the money will be invested in the process.

But so far, some countries have already started producing refrigerators that use HC. In Africa for example, Palfridge Ltd, a fridge manufacturing company in Southern Africa has already switched to production of fridges that use HC.

“Apart from being environment friendly, the HC based fridges are energy efficient, produce less heat, and the compressors do not produce much noise,” said Tumani Chidyamarambe, an engineer working for Paldridge in Swaziland.

Most African states are hopeful that developed countries will help them switch before 2025.

The pollutants include manmade chemicals used in fridges and air conditioners, and have an impact on depletion of the Ozone Layer.

Christian Aid, among other nongovernmental organisations have called on delegates at the ongoing 28th Meeting of Parties (MOP-28) to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer to ambitiously set up a date when the world should stop using hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

HFCs are manmade chemical gases used mainly in refrigerators, air conditioners across the world, created to replace CFCs in 1990. However, science has found out that these gases are thousands times more lethal to the climate than Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) as a greenhouse gas and their use is increasing at 10-15% a year.

Greenhouse gases are important compounds that are able to trap heat in the atmosphere, hence, giving the earth warmth that sustains life. But overproduction of these gases has led to over warming of the earth surface, leading to serious changes in climatic conditions, a condition that is already having devastating impacts on livelihoods.

Gaby Drinkwater, a Senior Policy Officer for Christian Aid told delegates at the talks in Kigali, Rwanda that it is in everyone’s interests to phase out HFCs as soon as possible.

 “HFCs were created to replace HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), which in turn replaced CFCs, after it was discovered that the gases were putting a hole in the ozone layer.  “But we didn’t realise that in HFCs we had created another thing that is even more devastating than Carbon dioxide,” said Drinkwater.

However, said Drinkwater,the good news is “we’ve already created their benign replacements, which are also more energy efficient. We now need to start using them, in conjunction with controlling the destruction of existing HFCs in a safe way,” she said.

With the growing population and the changing climatic conditions, people in developing countries seek more air conditioners and refrigerators, which has led to heavy expansion of HFCs, and could deal a significant blow to the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

The ongoing negotiations in Kigali are focusing on agreeing an ambitious and equitable HFC amendment proposal, including the date when the HFCs must be phased-out. Most of the developed countries are pushing for a date closer to 2031 while a majority of the developing countries want a much more ambitious timeline in the early 2020s.  

Good news is that richer countries have already provided funds to help developing countries make the transition and leap-frog to the safer alternatives, with philanthropists adding another $53m to the pot to aid this process just a month ago.

Ms Drinkwater said countries had nothing to fear from a rapid phasedown: “By leapfrogging polluting HFCs, developing countries can cut their energy use, reduce their climate impact, ensure they deliver on their Paris Agreement pledges and benefit from financial support towards equipment upgrades.”

“The combination of removing HFCs and the energy efficiency savings of new technology could see global temperatures reduced by a full degree centigrade by the end of the century.”
She said.

Tina Birmpili, the Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, stated that projected increases in demand for cooling mean that, by mid-century, more energy will be used on cooling than on heating. She underlined how this trend makes reaching an agreement on an HFC phasedown, combined with efforts to improve energy efficiency, as crucial to mitigating climate change.

LOME, Togo (PAMACC News) - When logging concessions are issued with very limited terms, they are often spotlighted by conservationists as harbingers of ecological harm to come. Another serious threat is the existence of logging roads that have continued to damage the environment and forest even after the logging stops.

A new study by forest experts has found out that logging, both legal and illegal, remains a lucrative business that has contributed to the rapid shrinking of Africa’s rainforests and woodlands.

According to Ajewole Opeyemi Isaac of the department of forest resource management of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, the challenges associated with logging in the tropical rainforest in West and Central Africa are the root cause of the rapid depletion of forest resources in these regions.

Key among these challenges is bad governance with limited term timber concessions that breeds corrupt practices, poor planning and management.

“Limited-term timber concessions encourages short-term resource depletion, and poor forest planning and management, corruption which makes existing forestry laws nearly unenforceable,” Ajewole said  at the presentation of his research paper during the African Forest Forum in Lome-Togo September 27, 2016.

He said there was lack of transparency in commercial transactions with corrupt officials granting concessions to cronies without regard for the environment or consideration of local people.
The study also highlighted the construction of logging roads to reach forest resources as destructive factor to the ecology in its own rights.

“Logging roads have long term destruction of forest as it encourages settlement of previously inaccessible forest lands by speculators, land developers and poor farmers,” he said.  

Other studies experts say have found out that along these logging roads and landing areas, the soil increasingly becomes more dense and compact with slower water infiltration than in the surrounding, untouched areas of the forest.

According to Stephen Anderson, a professor of soil science at the University of Missouri and coauthor of the study published in Geoderma and conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri in the U.S, “This can cause many environmental challenges in forests because dense soil prevents rainwater from soaking in, triggering run off and causing erosion. This erosion can carry fertile topsoil away from forests, which enters streams and makes it difficult for those forests being logged to regenerate with new growth as well as polluting surface water resources.”

The repercussions, the study says can last far longer than the logging itself. The researchers found that logging roads and log landing areas were significantly denser and less able to absorb water four years after timber harvesting had ended. This can detrimentally affect the ability of logged forests to regenerate, the study revealed.

Researchers at the African Forest Forum agreed that logging roads around the in many countries in the continent are piercing farther and farther into once-untouched forest in the quest for timber.

“Logging roads are a major threat and cause for concern,” noted Nganje Martin, consultant with the African Forest Forum. The scenario is the same in Africa just like other forest areas in the world he pointed.

Satellite images by the Monitoring Amazon Andean Project, MAAP for example, found new logging roads snaking through primary Amazon rainforest in the Ucayali region of Peru. Other findings from MAAP include illegal logging roads through protected areas.

In the Republic of Congo, the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch shows a large network of logging roads spreading through Congo Basin forest over the past few years.

The multiplication of such roads experts say are caused by illegal logging triggered by poverty, weak governance and absence of sustainable forest management.

The developments the experts say have devastating consequences such as loss or degradation of forests resulting in the loss of habitats and biodiversity, significant loss of government revenue, loss of future sources of employment and export earnings.

The African Forest Forum accordingly seeks to generate and share knowledge and information through partnerships in ways that will provide inputs into policy options and capacity building efforts in order to improve forest management in a manner that better addresses poverty eradication and environmental protection in Africa.

--------- --------- --------- ---------
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…