Africa Needs Robust Climate Financing

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Although Africa is the least polluter of the environment or emits the least greenhouse gas, the continent is the worst victim of climate change and there seems to be no solution to bring this tragic situation to an end.

At the opening of the COP22 Academy in Rabat, Morocco, panelists said the African continent will continue to bear the brunt of the “inhumane conditions caused by climate change until the perpetrators, those countries that are responsible for discharging toxins, especially the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas, United States and China, see the need to put more money into climate financing. The two countries combined emit 29 percent of environmental pollutants.

It was revealed that in spite of the huge impacts of climate change on the continent, African governments are only contributing four percent of climate financing, implying that the continent is relying on partners to combat the negative effects of climate change.

According to the President of COP22 Scientific Committee, Nizar Baraka, if this trend continues Africa will not find a lasting solution to the problem. He said Africa needs to get more involved, especially through the private sector, several of whom are responsible for some of the pollution.

He said it is now time for the continent to prioritize renewable energy, since hydro power, which is another best option, is not being considered by most governments. Mr. Baraka was one of three panelists who addressed fifty five journalists from across the African continent at the opening of the COP22 Academy in Rabat, Morocco on Monday.

He said the continent has the potential to finance its own projects, but what is lacking in certain countries is the political will or unwillingness of the people to get involved. “We don’t pollute much, but we suffer more,” he said. Mr. Baraka spoke on the topic “Capacity building and the excellent centers network:

What role for Africa?” He called on civil society organizations, the private sector and the media to play critical roles in mobilizing the continent to confront the menace head on.

The 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) is expected to be held in Bab Ighli, Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016. The United Nations, through its climate change office, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), revolves around two methods of combating climate change which are adaptation and mitigation

According to the head of COP22 Public, Private Partnership, Said Mouline, adaptation, which seems not to be favored by partners is evident by less investment, refers to adjustment in ecological, social and economic systems in response to actual or expected climate stimuli and their impacts. “It refers to changes in processes, practices and structures to moderate potential damages.

Adaptation activities span five general components. They are observation, assessment of climate impacts and vulnerability, planning and implementation and monitoring and evaluations of adaptation impacts,” he said.

Mouline also said the global greenhouse gas emission has grown since pre-industrial times with an increase of 70 percent between 1970 and 2004. With current climate change mitigation plan or policies, the report said, these emissions will continue to grow over the next decade, resulting to the continent continuing to suffer drought, famine, sea erosion and many other consequences

COP came into being in 1992, when countries joined an international treaty (UNFCC) as a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change by limiting average global temperature increases, and coping with impacts that were, by then, inevitable.

By 1995, countries launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and two years later, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020. However, there are now 197 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, adopted in Paris on 12 December 2015, marks the latest step in the evolution of the UN climate change regime and builds on the work undertaken under the Convention. The Paris Agreement charts a new course in the global effort to combat climate change.

The Paris Agreement, according to Mohammed Benyahia another panelist, seeks to accelerate the actions and investment needed for a sustainable low carbon future. Its central aim, he said, is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Mr. Said Benryane, Ambassador Counselor of COP22 said climate financing remains a huge challenge for the continent. Climate financing is the contribution of countries to climate change, and their capacity to prevent and cope with its consequences, which varies enormously, Mr. Benryane said. Henoted that the Convention and the Protocol foresee financial assistance from Parties with more resources to those less endowed and more vulnerable.

Parties of developed countries, he said, are mandated to provide financial resources to assist developing countries in implementing the Convention. To facilitate this, the Convention established a financial mechanism to provide funds to parties of developing countries.

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