Bold action on climate change needed in Copenhagen meet

IF necessity is the mother of invention, we should be looking forward to a breathtakingly innovative agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in December. Such an agreement would not only outline how we should curb greenhouse gas emissions, but also how we could realistically adapt to climate change, and help countries cope with its negative effects.

The increasing threat to life and livelihood posed by climate change is already palpable and the need for effective action agreed in Copenhagen is increasingly urgent. Yet the lack of progress in ongoing climate negotiations raises concern as to whether world governments will be able to reach meaningful agreement in December.

For those living on the frontline —the most vulnerable communities living in risk-prone parts of the world — every day wasted could mean a step closer to food or water insecurity; communities having to move to secure adequate and safe services; or even whole regions emptying as they become unable to sustain life.

Changes in the Arctic are accelerating global climate change. Scientists warn that if the Himalayan glaciers disappear, the impact would be felt by more than one billion people across Asia. What will African farmers do when floods wash away their crops as is happening these days in West Africa? This might sound overdramatic. However, climate change is already increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme natural hazard events, especially floods, storms and droughts.  Writes Bekele-Geleta


One Response

  1. The impact of climate change on those on the frontline as you put is in indeed both emmense and immediate and yet – perhaps not suprisingly – largely absent from the Copenhagen agenda. I guess that is why subsistence farmers and landless workers are known as the “voicless poor”.
    Dr Lindiwe Sibanda a spokesperson for Farming First wrote an article on the Guardian Katine Project site explaining the importance of agriculture, the impact of climate change and the need for African leaders to stand up for farmers in Copenhagen.

    But as we discuss what is needed to get the message of climate change understood in Africa, it becomes apparent that generally Africa’s media (both formal and social) does not sufficiently understand the issues and are therefore limited in their ability to stir up civil society to hold leaders to account.
    Perhaps “bold action” also means doing more to simplify climate change messages (not what the impacts of climate change are – farmers know well enough – but rather de-mystify the policy process) so that those affected are fully aware of what is at stake and how to lobby the players on the world stage – and on home turf. The overall aim? To be part of the solution rather than just voiceless victims of the problem.

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