The world has come to the conclusion that global warming is caused by human activities, especially, pollution. The question, therefore, is no longer if we should prevent global warming but how fast. Recently, the president of the African Development Bank, Nigeria’s Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, warned that the continent could lose as much as $50 billion by 2040 if the growing impact of climate change on the environment and the livelihoods of people is not checked.
Speaking at a virtual international climate summit called by US President Joe Biden, Dr. Adesina stated that the phenomenon remains a threat to Africa, with the continent currently losing between $7 billion and $15 billion every year to the impact of climate change – the most visible being the drying up of 90 per cent of Lake Chad and the loss of its resources, which once provided livelihood for 30 million people around the Lake Chad basin.
President Muhammadu Buhari has at more than three international fora appealed for the assistance of the international community towards recharging the Lake and resuscitating it. Indeed, the malignant insurgency that has arisen around Lake Chad seems to have been the natural consequence of the drying up of the lake and the disruption of the lives and livelihood of Chadians, Nigerians and Cameroonians, who made their living through the resources of the lake.
The southward push of the Sahara Desert has continued to put pressure on the arable land, on the green pasture available to livestock and led to the frequent conflict between farmers and herders in Nigeria in recent years.
Dr. Adesina warned that global warming could lead to a further decline of three per cent each year in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African countries by 2050. He made the submission at the virtual leaders dialogue in partnership with the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA.org) and the African Adaptation Initiative at which no less than 30 African heads of state and governments rallied behind a new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme which has as its objective the mobilisation of $25 billion to accelerate climate change adaptation action across the continent.
The consensus is that it is time for rich and developed countries to begin to make good their promise of providing $100 billion annually to help the world in the transition through climate change and a greater part of the financing should go into climate adaptation. So far, the rich countries have generously provided more than $20 trillion, which has gone into their COVID-19 stimulus packages.
They hardly need to be reminded that curbing the effects of climate change cannot happen if rich nations are unwilling to meet their pledges and obligations. Dr. Adesina commended the International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue $650 billion in new Special Drawing Rights to boost global reserves and liquidity, which would enormously help support green growth and climate change financing for economic recovery.
Democratic Republic of the Congo President, Felix–Antoine Tshisekedi, who is the chairperson of the African Union, called on the continent’s leaders to return to their individual nation’s original climate change plans and ambitions. Africans should focus on nature-based solutions, transitions to clean sustainable energy, technology transfer and climate finance.
The Managing Director of the IMF, Ms.Kristalivona Georgieva, praised the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme as an answer to the health and economic problems facing the continent following the pandemic because Africa nations are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and tackling the dual challenge requires putting adaptation at the heart of Africa’s recovery so that countries can build resilience to climate change and spur economic activity. She noted that the pandemic has shown the world the importance of investing in people; and it is very important to Africa which has a fast-growing young population. Those investments should begin by improving education, healthcare and food security, among others.
The warnings of Dr. Adesina, President Tshisekedi and other officials on the need to work positively to reduce global warming are a wake-up call. The affluent countries, which actually created much of the world’s green gas emissions, should fulfill their promises to contribute financially to reducing global pollution. The adoption of clean and renewable energy sources need to be scaled up and gas flaring ended in the Nigerian environment, for instance. Industrial emissions must be checked and controlled by China and the West if the reduction in global warming must be achieved.