Namibia needs US$33 billion to tackle climate change

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Windhoek

Namibia has finalised its plans to address the effects of climate change, ahead of the touted historic Paris conference in December, and the costs of implementing the plan as of now stand at US$33 billion (about N$442 billion).
On Tuesday Cabinet approved Namibia’s plan – called the Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC) – which would be put before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as part of preparations for the December conference.
In the INDCs countries outline the actions they are willing and able to take to address climate change.

The Paris conference is expected to ratify a new climate change deal that replaces the current agreement, which until now has wedged a gap between the rich and poor nations on how to tackle climate change. For the new deal to be successful, money is needed – and lots of it.
“The cost of implementation of the INDC components of Namibia will require about US$33 billion (nearly N$442 billion),” reads part of the plan that Cabinet approved this week and to which New Era took a gander. Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta submitted the plan.
Namibia’s costs may be shocking, but there is some hope that the 2014 discussions in Lima, Peru, opened the eyes of the developed world to the fact that emerging nations would not be able to fund their carbon emission plans on their own.
Not to mention the stance among developing nations that it is the developed nations who release most emissions, hence must cough up most of the funds required, even when all agree that economies in the developing world have changed and emerging economies too must answer for their fair share of emissions.
Certain to dominate discussions at the Paris conference would be the question of how to secure the required funds quickly enough. Although by last year the donations to the Green Climate Fund had fractionally surpassed the set goal of US$10 billion, it was still not anywhere near the ambitious target of raising US$100 billion a year by 2020.
The US$10 billion target was only reached after Australia and Belgium stepped up with donations.
The fact, however, remains that developing countries such as Namibia will need massive financial inputs if they are to meet their climate change obligations.
“Multiple shortcomings and constraints will have to be overcome while fulfilling the needs for systemic, institutional and human capacity building, access and transfer of the latest environmentally-friendly and clean production technologies, mitigation techniques and sufficient financing in a timely manner for smooth implementation,” Namibia says in her submission.
While the less poor countries have successfully pushed that the developed world mobilise enough funds through public and private sources, as climate aid for developing nations by 2020, the rich nations insist that developing nations also play a significant part in cutting carbon emissions.
Namibia’s INDC submission reiterates the need for the Green Climate Fund saying it “is of vital importance that the Green Climate Fund be capitalised rapidly in order to provide the much needed funds to developing countries to enable them to meet their intended targeted contribution.”
Government said the implementation of the INDC will be a major challenge and that research will be essential to develop and project climate change scenarios at higher resolutions for the different regions of the country to enable precise evaluation and the development of vulnerability indices in the different economic sectors.
Government said the setting up of an appropriate climate observation system is of prime importance if the project is to succeed. Key research areas identified to mitigate the situation include forest inventories for better assessing the loss in sink capacity, refine emissions and removals estimates and the development of national emission and stock factors.
Challenges listed include inadequate human capacity, lack of in-depth vulnerability studies, restricted access to the latest technologies, limited coverage of the country for systematic observation, and insufficient funds to correct the gaps and barriers while enabling the country to embark on adaptation in sectors already strained by climate change.
According to the submission, Namibia is yet to prepare its National Adaptation Plan and as such has not yet developed an advanced adaptation strategy and plan. “Yet, past experiences of disastrous climate change impacts have obliged government to incorporate climate change adaptation in the development agenda,” states the submission.
With more than half of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture, food shortages are a major problem in rural areas during drought years.
“Namibia is, therefore, potentially one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The predicted temperature rise and evaporation increase, as well as higher rainfall variability will exacerbate the existing challenges that Namibia is facing as the driest sub-Saharan country,” the submission further states.
It is not yet certain whether the Paris conference would ratify a new deal on climate change to replace the current agreement, or it would be another session of intense negotiations with a few modest agreements over the wording of the text. – Additional reporting by Desie Heita

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