Developed nations have bigger responsiblity on climate change

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Windhoek

Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang says developed nations, such as China, have a big responsibility to tackle climate change as they are the biggest contributors to global warming and environmenal degradation.

“It does not mean rich countries have nothing to do. Rich or developed countries should do more, because they develop faster. Their industrialisation influences climate change, so they have a responsibility to do more,” Shunkang told New Era in an interview yesterday.

China being the world’s largest polluter has sought to portray itself as a leader in the global fight against climate change in recent years. The country has expedited the development of renewable energy power plants, experimented with cap-and-trade programmes and last year committed to curb its growing carbon dioxide emissions in coming decades.

The ambassador said China plans to donate meteorological technologies to Namibia to help predict and mitigate climate change, given that desertification, land degradation and drought are critical threats to Namibia and many other countries across the world.

“We want to donate towards a weather project to analyse and report climate data. Such data is good for agriculture, as people will be able to plan and fight against drought. In future, I think Namibia and China – together with other nations during the world climate change in Paris – will find a way to tackle climate change,” he said.

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 will be held in Paris, from November 30 to December 11. It will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Leadership of the negotiations is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, who is in Ankara, Turkey, said the increasing instances of drought and climatic variability Namibia is experiencing would accelerate land degradation and would undermine the country’s ability to deliver on development priorities at all levels.

Shifeta is hopeful the agreement to be determined at the upcoming COP 21 in Paris will deliver a new path of action on climate change adaptation. “Issues of desertification, land degradation and drought have been too low down on the global agenda, in terms of resource mobilisation, political buy-in and broader international recognition,” he said.

Additionally, he says failure to confine global temperature increases to below 2 degrees would certainly result in increased droughts, which would undermine efforts at poverty eradication and food security. He is, however, hopeful the situation is starting to change, following the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are now in place for climate change, biodiversity and issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.

Shifeta says now that the SDGs are in place, the focus must shift to enhanced implementation and the commitment of sufficient resources, so that “we can achieve the land degradation neutrality target.’

Shifeta said Namibia has been able to develop draft targets – with support from international development partners – for increasing the productivity of rangelands, cropland and forested land, as well as for reducing the area of degraded land through bush encroachment.

He says Namibia views the sustainable management of its croplands and rangelands as key to climate change adaptation.

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