The global population today faces immense socio- economic and political challenges. Most countries especially in Africa are seriously affected by extreme poverty where an increased number lack access to basic services. The majority is extremely affected by poverty because of climate change from global warming that has led to severe metrological and hydrological droughts caused by the atmosphere warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
These catastrophes have drastically impacted more on communities in Africa with some countries failing to cope with mitigation and adaptation due to lack of climate finance, social cohesion of political will and isolation from the International community. It is therefore a priority to for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to foster policy development so as to forecast on climate change mitigation and adaptation through Bio-Diversity protection, research and development programs. Secondly, the implementation of BECCS Technologies to reduce climate change is important. Also, there is need to create other technologies which are conducive to a pollution free, disease free and an environmentally stable and sustainable community.
University of Zimbabwe Environment and Agriculture Expert Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki reckons that if countries stay below 1.5 degrees of warming there are greater chances of stability in rainfall resulting in good harvests. The input part comes with bumper output of harvest and the outcome is adequate food supply that is Food Security leading to an ideal of reduced hunger and poverty in communities, high education and health service delivery. In his view, ‘’This is only achievable through unison application of the global agreements already in place like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreements which have a bit of relief to our changing world . Ofcourse climate has been changing but 90% of this is attributable to human forces, working towards destroying the Universe’’.
The Publicity Manager of the Environmental Management Agency which regulates the environment space, Steady Kangata, shares the same sentiments as he points out, ‘’Richer States have to come together and weave social cohesion ideas meant to reduce effects of climate change so that we are at ease as far as this is concerned . Staying below 1.5 degrees of warming is possible in the long run if the burning of fossil fuels is addressed. In fact natural solutions will work for us as we get to zero fossil fuel use’’. However, he hastens to caution that staying below 1.5 degrees of warming wont be easy as long as richer nations fail to agree among themselves to take it up with those most affected like African states and the small island countries which are only contributing a little at most not at all . Another Expert, an Agronomist Professor Mushonjowa pointed out that the issue of food security will not be a reality as long countries stay above 1.5 degrees Celsius as it leads to food insecurity and worsens poverty levels.
According to the World Health Organization, Climate Change has caused 140,000 deaths due to hunger and waterborne ailments .According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care Department of Epidemiology’s Doctor Portia Manangazira, the increase in water borne diseases has also been an issue of climate change in many countries mainly hit by devastating floods,‘’Water-borne diseases are set to increase as long climate lives. The greater increase is due to the issue of climate change which has arose with high incessant rains and sometimes low rainfall compromising on the strong sharp increase in communicable diseases related to vector borne and water borne ones like malaria and cholera respectively’ she said .
However, the question of climate justice still hangs in the balance as some countries like the USA continue polluting at the expense of the developing countries. The increase in vulnerable people in communities is adversely exacerbated by climate change which in turn causes these people to live above 1.5 degrees of warming. In the Agriculture sector a 2 degrees increase in temperature reduces maize output by 5 to 22%, wheat 10 to 17% and sorghum from 15 to 17%. This leads to food vulnerability leading to high malnutrition and nutrition insecurity, poverty and lack of human development .
Because of these issues, women and children are failing to survive as they are more vulnerable to drought and the effects of natural disasters. The Director of Shamwari YeMwanasikana, Ekenia Chifamba bemoaned the lack of opportunities for women to speak up and notes that staying below 1.5 could help today’s the girl-child to become a better contributor in building a better economy without poverty and hunger. However, it is sad to note that women voices in climate change issues were so low over the recent years because of inequality. A sentiment echoed by the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe Co-coordinator, Sally Dura who also argued for more representation of women and venturing into 100% Renewable Energy to reduce carbon emissions
On the ground, real change rests with strategizing achievable mitigations and properly aligned adaptations in order to conquer challenges we face today. The fact is that before the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century there were 280 parts per million of carbon emissions doubling to 400 parts per million. The warming of the planet by upwards of 3 to 4 degrees, leading to high sea-levels poses a great threat for mankind. Although we are slightly below these levels, several measures in addition to climate resilience, governance and political will need to be put in place.
NEVSON MPOFU is an award winning Media Practitioner currently lecturing on Community Development , HIV and AIDS. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org