Following the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP17) in South Africa, this month’s Briefs column is devoted to Africa’s contribution to the creation of a sustainable programme to deal with, and mitigate the effect of, climate change on the continent.
The Greening of Africa Africa faces greatest risks A Nobel Prize-winning panel of scientists has said Africa is the continent facing the greatest risks from the effects of global warming. African delegates demanded immediate action from all parties at the UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, to avert further environmental destruction.
he first green street in S Africa: Durban’s Cato Manor township is being refitted with green technologies such as solar-heated hot water.
Africa is taking a leading role among the developing regions most affected by climate change. While Africa produces the least amount of carbon dioxide of any other region in the world, it is considered the most vulnerable to droughts, floods and other extreme weather events that will increase as the earth gets hotter.
In Africa, by 2020 between 75 and 250m people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. In 2020 in some countries yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%.
Africans are also calling for the implementation of a Green Climate Fund that will be used to finance projects in developing countries. The African Group insists that the fund be used to finance governments and projects and that the money is not spent on development agencies and private firms from rich countries.
New global satellite data shows that the net loss of forests increased from 4.1m hectares per year between 1990 and 2000 to 6.4m hectares between 2000 and 2005.
In Ethiopia, the Humbo CommunityBased Natural Regeneration Project is regenerating almost 3,000 hectares of native natural forest, and the community is earning revenues from the sale of carbon credits to the BioCarbon Fund
The Green Climate Fund aims to channel up to $100bn a year by 2020 to developing nations frica to turn climate challenges into opportunities Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for the Africa region, has said climate change is adding to an already tough set of development challenges for the continent. Sub-Saharan Africa alone will need to find another $14-17bn a year between now and 2050 to fight climate change, according to a recent World Bank study.
However, if Africa’s economies continue to grow at the present rate, the continent’s GDP could double in about 12 years. She has said this provides Africa with a unique opportunity in building roads, cities and ports for the future. Its growing cities can be lowcarbon and agriculture can become climate-smart and thereby, more productive.
The World Bank Group has planned investments of around $7bn to support Africa’s efforts to deal with climate change. They range from helping countries cope with climate risks and vulnerabilities, to designing new policies to boost renewable energy use.
Niger and Zambia have both participated in the World Bank-supported programmes Similar plans are being developed for 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Hydropower projects are under consideration in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Cameroon. Kenya is expanding geothermal power production. 12 West African and Sahelian countries are implementing a World Bank-led action plan for climate smart agriculture. S Africa to invest billions in green economy The South African government is to invest billions in mass transport systems as a way of “greening” the South African economy.
By 2014, the state-owned commuter rail company, Prasa (Rail Agency of South Africa), will invest R20bn ($2.5bn) in new trains, most of which will be manufactured locally.
This is part of the government’s New Growth Path, which seeks to reduce emissions by focusing on renewable and nuclear energy, green transport and the built environment. State-owned transport entity Transnet will invest about R63bn ($7.8bn) in the freight rail system over the next five years.
South Africa’s Green Economy Accord has a strong commitment to employing young people and those historically excluded from the economy. Government and business have set a target of 80% youth amongst new employees in the manufacturing and installation of solar-water heating systems as well as government’s public works programmes to green the economy.
Electricity utility Eskom and business will work to create technologies to reduce emissions from coalfired plants. The New Growth Path foresees that in the coming decades, at least a third of new electricity generation will come from renewable sources.
African Business | January 2012 In AFRICA we see only opportunity,
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