Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation
Climate change is impacting human lives and health in a variety of ways. It threatens the essential ingredients of good health - clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, shelter-and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health (WHO). Over the last 50 years, human activities-particularly the burning of fossil fuels-have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate. This is more evident in the fact that the world has warmed by approximately 0.85oC in the last 130 years. Each of the last 3 decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1830(1). The sustainability of the planet’s ecosystems is under threat, as well as the future of humankind and the stability of the global economy. Extreme weather events are more regular and their patterns are changing. They are more intensive, aggressive, and with more energy. This means more storms, floods, cyclones, and droughts will take place over the next years (Youmatter). In Africa, the actual and potential impacts of climate change are large and wide ranging, affecting many aspects of people’s everyday lives. Higher temperatures, the drying up of soils, increased pest and diseases, increased desertification, floods, deforestation, shifts in suitable areas for growing crops and livestock, erosion and growing soil infertility in the Sahara region are all signs that climate change is already evident in Africa. In South Africa, there have been noticeable increases in climate variability, impacting both water quality and availability, changes in rainfall patterns with more-intense floods and droughts (South Africa’s second National Climate Change Report).
According to the climate change vulnerability index for 2015, seven of the 10 countries most at risk from climate change impacts are in Africa. According to AWDR, 2006, the 2001 disastrous flood in North Africa (Northern Algeria) resulted in about 800 deaths and an economic loss of about $400 million. In West Africa, entire economics suffer when the water levels of Africa’s huge rivers drop. Mali for example, is dependent on the river Niger for food, water and transport. Ghana too, has become totally reliant on the hydro-electric output of the Akosombo dam on the volta river. The latest decade predications, covering the five-year period from 2020 to 2024, shows continued warming and decreasing rainfall especially over North and Southern African, and increased rainfall over the sable. No region in the world has been affected as much as the Sahel, which is experiencing rapid population growth, estimated at 2.8% per year, in an environment of shrinking natural resources (UN/Africa Renewal).
Although African countries contributes the least to climate change, they are the ones experiencing the brunt of the impacts. As African countries strive to meet their developmental needs, the impact of climate change is bound to get worse owing to the fact that these countries rely heavily on fossil fuel for energy. According to Paris Agreement, there is need to reduce global warming to well below 2oC relative to pre-industrial period in order to mitigate the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations. Africa being the most vulnerable region to impacts of climate change has to take the lead in meeting the Paris Agreement target. Though ACET (African Center for Economic Transformation) has suggested a regional collaboration on effective climate change actions as the way forward for Africa, it is very important to also betone that NGOs and individuals should not be onlookers in the battle against climate change in Africa. That is the more reason why a visionary and enlightened non-profit organization like the Africa Climate and Environment Foundation (ACEF) has taken upon itself to be at the forefront in the fight against climate change in Africa.
ACEF is particularly focused on nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The key project of ACEF towards climate change adaptation and mitigation is tree planting. The U.S Department of Agriculture revealed that “one acre of forest absorbs six tons of CO2 and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people”. Trees are vital in the fight against climate change. They give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil, gives life to the world’s wildlife, and moderate the effects of sun, rain, and wind. ACEF has adopted the policy of “one man one tree” across the African continent. The species of trees selected by ACEF are those that have high nutritional and medicinal values as well as high CO2 sequestration capacity. ACEF is bent in her irrevocable task of planting useful trees in every country in Africa.
Another key project of ACEF is wetlands protection and or construction. There are several wetlands across Africa which inter alia includes the inland oases, the limpopo river floodplain in Southern Africa, Wadis and Chotts of Northwest Africa, the Oualidia and Sidi moussa lagoons in Morocco, etc. Far from being useless, disease-ridden places, wetlands provide values that no other ecosystem can. These include flood protection, shoreline erosion control, natural water quality improvement, recharging of ground water supplies, control of pollution, sequester carbon, amongst others. ACEF is equipped with the know-how on wetland protection and construction, whose benefits in climate change mitigation and adaptation cannot be overemphasized. ACEF also carryout projects to conserve and restore Mangroves. Bioenergy generation and utilization is also one of ACEF’S finest projects towards climate change mitigation and adaptation in Africa. Everyone deserves the right to access clean energy. Organic matter generates clean electricity and carbon-neutral gas. Africa is blessed with biomass which can be used to generate a very flexible energy source as bioenergy. It is a sustainable solution to the adverse effects of fossil fuels on the environment. Fossil fuels are harmful in many ways besides climate change. Also, ACEF is expanding “energy education” in Africa through its sensitization outreach on the dangers of unclean energy to a people. ACEF also promotes and encourages everyone who is willing to be a next generation energy leader. There are several reasons why we need to phase-out fossil fuel, which is why ACEF agitates for a cleaner and more flexible energy as bioenergy. Support ACEF today to safe the African continent from the dangers of climate change. We urge everyone to take responsibility.