The Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta yesterday said the current water scarcity, and recurrent and debilitating droughts, floods and loss of biodiversity in Namibia are a direct consequence of climate change.
Science indicates the worst droughts are yet to come if humans specifically in the first world do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Shifeta told New Era.
Climate change or global warming is the change in average global temperature over a period of time. This alarming phenomenon is caused by human induced greenhouse gas emissions from industries, agricultural activities, deforestation and burning of fossil fuels to produce energy.
Speaking to New Era from Paris, France where he is attending the African ministers’ meeting on climate change, Shifeta ominously said: “Over the past 100 years Namibia witnessed a record temperature rise of about 1 degree Celsius. This temperature rise can be linked to the ever and frequent droughts and floods in Namibia. Scientific studies indicate that these current climatic events are indeed a warning signal of more catastrophic events to come.”
“And for dry countries like Namibia the situation will worsen as temperatures continue to rise. This situation will affect food and water security due to drought and also negatively affect the livestock industry, which represents about 70 percent of the total agricultural outputs,” cautioned the environment minister.
Climate change is not only about recurrent drought and the resultant food and water scarcity but it is a serious developmental threat, according to Shifeta.
“On the other hand floods can destroy our hard earned infrastructure such as roads and cause soil degradation. Thus climate change is no longer an environmental problem but indeed a developmental challenge. Climate change is capable of reversing the economic development efforts of nations and its effects do not recognise political borders,” he said.
Shifeta noted the rich and poor nations will equally be affected and the capacity to deal with these impacts will always be different between developed and developing countries. “Its effects do not recognise political borders,” he added.
“This situation will affect food and water security due to drought and also negatively affect the livestock industry which represents about 70% of the total agricultural outputs.”
He said developed countries have caused climate change through their heavy economic industrialisation agenda which brought them to the level of being developed nations.
Africa contributes least to the total global emissions (about 3 percent) and Namibia is in fact a net sink of greenhouse gas emissions.
against that backdrop Namibia and other developing countries “expect developed countries to take the lead to reduce emissions and provide us with necessary means of implementation, particularly finance, for us to adapt to the problem they have caused and also for us to implement actions to reduce emissions,” said the environment minister.
The French president Francois Hollande announced billions to help Africa install clean energy and to help the continent tackle desertification over the next five year in its former colonies.
Namibia has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution which is quite ambitious both in terms of adaptation and mitigation options in line with its National Climate Change Policy and the National Climate Change Implementation Strategy and Action Plan.