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For Climate Change, It’s Race Against Time

By Olumide Ayodele
05 February 2023   |   6:00 am
Whether seen through the seemingly unstoppable firestorms that ravaged Australia from 2019 to 2020, or is it the intense drought in Somalia that has made over a million people to become afflicted by starvation, the issue of climate change has become the singsong reality of modern world. Currently, the famine in the land kills like…

Whether seen through the seemingly unstoppable firestorms that ravaged Australia from 2019 to 2020, or is it the intense drought in Somalia that has made over a million people to become afflicted by starvation, the issue of climate change has become the singsong reality of modern world.

Currently, the famine in the land kills like a plague. The almost two years drought has also made crop and livestock production to be insufficient. Therefore, it is not surprising that people across the regions are constantly facing an extreme case of starvation, leading to a mass case of forced migration in recent years.

Climate change is negatively impacting the world and making people uncomfortable. Caused by the sporadic increase in human activities as a result of advanced technology, climate change is the end product of the burning of fuels, coal, oil and gas, which leads Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions being generated. The CHG act like a blanket wrapped around the earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.

Climate Change means recognising the reality of breakdown in the hemisphere. It also means recognising the interconnectedness of all things. It affects economies of both developed and developing countries: That connection brings obligation: to respect nature, to build domestic regulation and international treaties that protect what’s needed.

Challenge of Climate Change
Climate change was more like a story, which fell on mostly indifferent ears when it was first discussed in the mainstream more than three decades ago. Two decades earlier, it was supposed to be happening very slowly and in the distant future. There were a lot of references to “our grandchildren’s time”.

According to doomsday predictions from various religions, the effects of climate change — from drought, incessant rainfalls, firestorms, to hurricanes — stand as testament to the wrath of God on humans concerning their consistent moral depreciation. As a result, most religious leaders chose to use prayer and religious devotion as a way of ideologically decreasing the effects of climate change in their respective regions.

It was a problem that was difficult to grasp – this dispersed, incremental, atmospheric, invisible, global problem with many causes and manifestations, whose solutions are also dispersed and manifold. But now, it is with humanity. The old story that climate change isn’t real – has been rendered largely obsolete (outside social media) by climate-driven catastrophes around the globe and good work by climate activists and journalists. Those voices from the climate movement have finally succeeded in making the vast majority understand it, and many care passionately about it, might be the biggest single victory the movement will have.

Scientist and climate change
However, scientists around the world have since disputed such religious ideologies, deeming it superstitious and ineffective to tackle the depreciating effects of climate change. Either way, both the religious leaders and scientists have deemed the crisis as an uncomfortable subject that has transformed humanity.

Industrial activities
Having noticed that the present depreciating state of climate change was caused by industrial activities, some organisations have elected to reduce the carbon emission during the production of their goods and services. For instance, Apple and Samsung have begun creating means in which the production of their mobile phones emit zero carbon dioxide, which in turn enable the companies to become eco-friendly.
Also, commercially successful companies such as Tesla increasingly received more recognition as a result of its unique production and distribution of electric premium vehicles. Unfortunately, Tesla’s products are not for the economically faint-hearted since each of electric vehicles costs a significant amount that only the upper class and the middle class could afford.

Controversy
However, despite its severity, it’s harder to recognise a ‘false’ friend than an ‘honest’ enemy, and their false solutions, delaying tactics and empty promises can be confusing for non-experts.
It remains an uncomfortable topic for heads of states at international fora. The former United States President, Donald Trump, is one of the heads of states consistently denied its existence, describing it as ‘an expensive hoax’, ‘mythical’ and ‘non-existent’. Also, global conspiracy theories have disclosed that climate change stands as either a socio-political or economic gimmick that could only be believed by the faint-hearted.

However, it is not surprising that Africa stands as the only continent, where denial of climate change is non-existent. Rather than deny, African heads of states see it as threat to human existence. The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, in an opinion essay dated November 9, 2022, in ‘Washington Post’ disclosed that climate change has led to Nigeria experiencing the worst case of seasonal flooding that has since made some parts of the country to become submerged in water.

President Buhari also revealed that African leaders are disturbed that first world countries are hypocritical about it.
The president’s statement points to a fundamental truth — that the extreme effects of climate change is more felt in developing countries of Africa.

Nevertheless, the United Nations is of the opinion that every country in the world is experiencing effects of climate change, even though, unequally. The inequality of climate change, as revealed by the UN, shows that African countries do not have economic means to mitigate against the effect of climate change, but the West, who are architect of the crisis, are economically strong enough to contain the effects of climate change in their individual territories.

The UN believes that climate financing is the responsibility of developed countries to help developing countries like Nigeria to overcome the challenges of climate change.
Data from the 2022 African Economic Outlook by the African Development Bank (AfDB) shows that the total climate finance due to Africa is estimated at between $4.76 trillion to $4.84 trillion from 2022 to 2050. This represents an annual inflow of between $163.4 billion to $173 billion.

It is instructive to understand that there is a strong correlation between GDP per capita and climate change. And if climate financing is not provided to Africans who are already suffering disproportionately from the effects of climate change, then the situation could get worse. The African continent needs this climate financing to build climate resilience to withstand the effects of climate change.

At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark, developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilising $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. The funds mobilised were to be used for meaningful mitigation actions against the effects of climate change in Africa. The pledge is yet to be fulfilled.

In October 2022, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina reported the call that Africa urgently needs climate financing commitments from developed countries.
He said:“Africa is suffering what it didn’t cause. The developed world, a long time ago, promised $100 billion a year in support of climate finance for developing countries. What we get now is a lot of talks and zero financing. It’s time to pay up because Africa is suffering tremendously from the impact of climate change. It’s Africa’s COP, so let’s deal with Africa’s problems by putting the money on the table.”

Earlier, the AfDB suggested in a report that the $100 billion commitment should be distinct from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and funding from multilateral development banks (MDBs) and instead be treated as new or additional financing.

As revealed by President Buhari in his ‘Washington Post’ essay, there is need for Western countries to come to the aid of developing countries in their effort to tackle the effects of this crisis. African leaders like President Buhari are of the opinion that they have not yet received the promised fund. This is more like a race against time, and in such a race, it is only humanity that will suffer if the climate is not protected.

This means that while some governments continue to withhold funds to mitigate against climate change, developing countries, especially across East Africa will continue to experience the worst effects of climate change, despite their minimal participation in the office present state of the climate.

Activism
To continue the fight against climate change, popular programmes such as the National Geographic have continued to sponsor correspondents from various countries in their clamour to make people pay attention to the debilitating state of climate change. According to a report by the national geographic, scientists are hard at work implementing an afforestation initiative called the Great Green Wall, which involves restoring various ecosystem to the northern parts of Africa.

By choosing to restore eco-friendly order to the African region, scientists have irrefutably showed that afforestation stands as a significant means that people and institution could diminish against the effect of climate change. However, due to the continuous demands of consumers regarding industrially produced goods, the single afforestation initiatives might have little to no changes on climate change.