Become Acquainted with Impact of Global Warming

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Namibia has expressed concern over the effects of climate change on its economy and people, urging all its partners in sustainable environmental efforts to accelerate the full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and Convention. The Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an amendment to the International Treaty on Climate Change, assigning mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to signatory nations. Minister of Environment and Tourism Willem Konjore, who represented Namibia at the recently ended 12th Conference of High-Level Segment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Kenya, urged all parties to seriously study and make use of the recently published Stern Review on the economic impacts of climate change and its effects on the global economic production on the medium to long term. Stern Review is a report that warns of how human actions will over the coming few decades create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century. Africa is the continent most affected by global warming, and it remains one continent least prepared to tackle the causes of climate change. Experts have projected that by 2080, global warming could lead to a five percent fall in the production of food crops such as sorghum, maize, millet and groundnuts. Climate change could also lead to natural disasters in the form of severe droughts and devastating floods that would threaten the lives of at least 812 million inhabitants in Africa. Further, rising sea levels could destroy an estimated 30% of Africa’s coastal infrastructure, according to a new UN Report on the impact of climate change on the continent. According to Konjore, Namibia aims to address the threat of climate change by pursuing a path of sustainable development suited for Namibia’s variable and fragile environment. Already, Namibia’s situation is compounded by threats of desertification, and the effect of climate change will drastically increase the vulnerability of the country’s people. “We are faced with great challenges, our country is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, specifically our coastal areas and our continuous dependency on our fragile ecosystem and related services leans towards a subsistence economy that relies heavily on subsistence agriculture and livestock production systems,” he said. For the Namibian government to prepare and limit potential impacts of the predicted climate change scenarios, Konjore emphasized the need to engage all partners to come up with accelerated and quick win-win approaches in climate change adaptation, including both institutional adaptation and adaptive management capacity. The country has so far embarked on a number of programmes to address the issue of climate change. The second National Communication project was launched recently. This addresses the potential impacts of climate change on most vulnerable sectors, national capacities, and the Namibian public’s knowledge and awareness of these impacts. The minister also revealed that the country has initiated an Adaptation project that will contribute to the goal of enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change in agriculture and pastural systems in severe drought-prone constituencies in the central-northern regions of Namibia. He also extended an invitation to interested parties to consider exploring renewable energy in Namibia, especially that the country enjoys more than 300 days of complete sunshine, hence the huge comparative advantage for renewable energy exploitations for both solar and wind. “The country is ideally located for trials and experimentation for large-scale renewable energy generation, especially solar energy,” he stated. Konjore was one of the 6ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 delegates from all around the world who gathered in Nairobi for the conference on Climate Change which lasted from the 6th to 17th November 2006.