Climate change is ‘elephant in the room’ for world leaders
By Victor MUJIDU
The climate emergency or simply ‘Climate Change’ is the elephant in the room.
The divisive subject has been on the lips of world leaders, business executives, and almost everyone for decades now – the majority of whom are now racing against time in seeking solutions to mitigate the global crisis.
Climate change is modestly defined as long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns.
These shifts may be natural, but since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas), which produce heat-trapping gases.
While Africa accounts for only about two to three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it suffers disproportionately from the adverse effect of environmental.
Read: Climate Change drives push for framework on greener pensions
The disruption of rainfall patterns and the shrinkage of key lakes in African countries like Kenya have prompted severe droughts and food shortages, leaving many households dejected.
“What we’re experiencing is a result of climate change and that is because climate change is expected to translate into more severe extremes for example the drought we experience more frequent and more intensely,” said the Kenya Meteorological Department MD, Mary Kilavi in a recent interview with a local news outlet.
Kilavi said that the country needs to prepare for the unprecedented weather patterns caused by climate change.
She added that “going into the future, we expect that to intensify and only get worse with frequent and extreme events… it could be flooding or a prolonged drought like this unprecedented one.”
The COP 27 resolution on Climate Change
The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022 carries with it the hopes of the entire African continent for a successful outcome.
To live up to its promise of being an African—and developing—country, the conference parties agreed on delivering on six areas to galvanize action and increase international cooperation.
The six key areas include the delivery of enhanced climate finance and other support to Africa and other developing countries, strengthening adaptation action and support, and enhancing ambition on mitigation towards 1.5C.
Maximizing the Global Stocktake to highlight equity, supporting African just transitions and sustainable development, and addressing climate-induced loss and damage as a key part of multilateral cooperative climate action.
Having adequate outcomes in these six key areas at COP27 can measurably move Africa, other developing countries, and the rest of the work forward in their efforts to work together.
According to the COP27 six key areas have been identified, Africa and other developing countries will be on a mission to combat climate change in the context of addressing poverty eradication and sustainable development objectives, on the basis of equity, responding to the latest science, and reflecting the common but differentiated responsibilities of all.
However, the government, in partnership with the private sector, is progressively working to reduce national green gas emissions by 32 percent by integrating climate change adaptation into national and county-level development planning by 2030.
According to the climate policy initiative published last year, mitigating climate change will cost a total of $18.6 billion (2019/20 – 2023/24) which is $8.7 billion for adaptation and $9.9 billion for mitigation actions—and an additional $ 21.4 billion is needed for 2024–2030.
Financial risks, including currency depreciation and inflation are some of the key concerns for African economies.
The survey found that depreciation and inflation are impacting business results and fueling fears of dampened growth over the next twelve months. The need to adapt current business models to climate change was the second most pressing issue.
The survey’s respondents also identified Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe as the three countries most at risk from these threats.
After a two-year Covid-induced hiatus Continental Re used its 7th CEO Summit in October 2022 with 70 captains of industry in attendance, to discover what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for the sector and Africa’s economies alike in the year ahead.
Launched in 2014 and hosted by a different African country each year to reflect the pan-African footprint of the company, this year’s CEO Summit took place in Marrakesh, Morocco.
“The only certainty of 2022 appears to be uncertainty. From the challenges of a changing climate to the war in Ukraine, food security and energy cost increases, African economies are facing new risks and threats to their status quo.
Events like our CEO Summit enable business leaders to share ideas and solutions that can help mitigate some of the risks that lie ahead,” noted Lawrence Nazare, Group CEO of Continental Reinsurance Plc.
Over 90 percent of the CEOs surveyed warned that their perception of these risks has increased in the past 12 months – compared to 63 percent who believe opportunities are growing.
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