Africa is the Continent worst hit by the global warming menace by all measurable standards. The effects have been adverse with the continent facing its worst water crisis in major cities. Cape Town, in the past year, experienced the longest water crisis ever recorded and barely 40% of the population in Nairobi has access to clean water at all. This has led to water-borne diseases like cholera.
Kenya has also experienced the worst drought in recent history, leading to inflation and to a major scarcity of basic commodities like food, where the amount of maize flour bought in retail stores had to be rationed. The Kalahari Desert is massively extending to the South while Lake Chad is shrinking. The Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought it has ever seen in over 60 years.
There is no any other region in the world that has been impacted by the effects of the adverse weather changes as much as Africa.
Now that would beg the question, is it right that Africa fights global warming through every means possible and check on other problems later?
The Cost of Fighting Global Warming
Most people would easily see the logic in dealing with global warming as fast as possible. Let me add that even I, at one point, thought it is the best way to go. From the high levels of heat we have seen in the recent years, causing drought and famine, it is normal to want a quick solution. But before we come to a hurried conclusion, let us take into account the cost of fighting global warming as compared to fighting other ailments in the region.
Fighting global warming is a costly affair, even though most people claim that simply reducing gas emissions is relatively cheap. The truth is that there are real-world issues that must be implemented before that. Therefore, the longer policies and technology take to take shape, the higher the costs of managing climate change rise.
Reports by the International Energy Agency show that until to 2050, it will cost around $44 trillion in order to revert from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy.
The Money Issue
Another report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that it may cost about $13 trillion to stabilize greenhouse gas emission levels. Even though it is possible that the amount will be recovered in the long run from the cheaper energy sources like solar. It is worth noting that reducing gas emissions at the moment would likely translate to a slowdown in economic development.
These are just estimates, but they still should serve as indicators for the African governments on where to put their focus, considering the meager resources they have at the moment.
Therefore, it is evident Africa cannot sustain the fight on global warming single-handedly. They must rely on foreign aids for that. We all know that foreign aids are never the best option, whenever we want to solve a problem.
Social Issues on the African Continent
Africa has a host of problems it has to solve first before embarking on doing away with carbon emissions control. These are persistent problems that have been on the continent for a long time. It is high time Africa concentrates on eradicating them completely.
Africa is facing a rapid population growth with studies showing that 3.5 million children are born in Africa every month, amounting to 80 newborns every single minute. It is estimated that by 2050, 54 percent of the world’s population would be African, shooting up to 82 percent by 2100.
This gets me to another disturbing question, is it time Africa adopted a one-child policy? We may answer that another time.
Studies show that the number of people living in abject poverty in the Sub Saharan Africa has increased by a margin of 98% in the past thirty years. Climate change has greatly affected the amount of food production on the continent. This means that a large number of Africans go to sleep hungry.
Unemployment and Crime in Africa
Youth unemployment rate in Africa is the worst in the world. Kenya and Ethiopia both have an unemployment rate of over 40%. Nigeria at 45%. The number of graduates from the institutions of higher learning in the African countries keeps bulging while the job creation opportunities and abilities keep shrinking.
Agriculture is one of the places that would offer employment for a big number of that population and, currently, it is going down.
The level of crime on the continent has shot up at the same time. The unemployed youth wants to find a way of getting their livelihood and fend for themselves. They also have a lot of free time that they waste doing nothing. As widely known, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
These problems are the reasons why some Africans take the dangerous journey over the Atlantic Ocean trying to cross over to Europe as an Immigrant in search of a better life. Several ending up as slaves in Libya, while most of those who get to the ocean wind up dead even before arriving at their destination.
These are deep running problems we can’t cast aside and concentrate on while fighting global warming. What will be the use of having a clean environment with no one to inhabit it?
Solutions for Africa
The most viable route for Africa to take in dealing with its current problems is advancing economic development. Africa must work more on developing infrastructure and innovation for its people and products. It must learn how to explore and process the natural resources that are abundant on the continent.
To fight famine when crops fail due to the irregular rainfall caused by global warming, the African continent must desist from relying on rainfall for agricultural production. This means that the African governments should invest in irrigation schemes. It will provide consistent water supply to farmers, hence boosting crop yields.
Several African countries are already forming adaption methods; Resilience strengthening projects already started in Zambezi River basin, that is, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Seychelles has taken on adaptive ecosystems for communities living along the coastal line by coral reefs and similar ecosystems. Uganda has a Mountain vulnerability Assessment project going on along Mt.Elgon.
By achieving economic freedom where Africa is self-reliant, we then can easily find enough resources to fight the costly affair which is eradicating global warming. Again, by being economically self-reliant, Africa will be able to dictate the number of funds set aside by economic world bodies in fighting global warming.
Africa and the Paris Agreement
At the moment, it is really disheartening that Africa has to rely on the outcome of the annual climate change conference by World leaders and conservation stakeholders to negotiate on how to implement the Paris Agreement. Which, at the moment, is even more complicated due to the fact that one of the world’s biggest economies, the USA, is not part of.
The Paris Agreement, a pact adopted in 2015, is an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poorer countries adapt to the several effects of climate change. Developed countries are agreeing to finance developing countries in fighting global warming while ensuring they reduce their own carbon emissions.
Economic empowerment will make Africa an equal player in such treaties, hence enabling them to make deals favorable to the African people.
So for now, no matter how big of a threat global warming is for Africa, it must not fight it. They cannot sustain fighting global warming while at the same time fending for the needs of the people. That would be like going to war without enough arms and soldiers. You will definitely lose.
Let Africa embrace ways of reducing global warming from occurring even more while concentrating on economic improvement. We shall revisit the global warming menace later, after marshaling our troops.
This is not to say that global warming is a non-issue, but it is a rather long-term affair.