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Insights for African countries from the latest climate change projections

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Flooding is projected to increase in eastern Africa

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a body of the UN tasked with providing scientific information on climate change – has released a major new report, pulling together evidence from a wide range of current and ancient climate observations. It’s the most up-to-date understanding of climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science.

It is crucial that we have a good understanding of the findings as they give an indication of what our future could look like.

According to the report global warming is evident, with each of the last four decades being successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. Average precipitation on land has also increased since the mid-20th century. In addition, there is high confidence that mean sea level increased by between 0.15 and 0.25m between 1901 and 2018.

The major concern is that as warming continues, more extreme climate events, such as droughts, are projected to increase in both frequency and intensity. This warming is mainly driven by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) and coal production.

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When it comes to African countries, the report projects an increase in average temperatures and hot extremes across the continent. The continent will likely experience drier conditions with an exception of the Sahara and eastern Africa.

Alarmingly, the rate of temperature increase across the continent exceeds the global average. In addition, as warming continues, the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events are projected to increase almost everywhere in Africa. Maritime heatwaves and sea level rises are also projected to increase along the continental shores.

Looking into the future, global warming could lead to an increase in hot extremes, including heatwaves. It could also lead to a decrease in cold extremes.

The projected dry and hot conditions will have a devastating impact on a continent where the economies of most countries, and the livelihoods of most people, are dependent on rain-fed agriculture. In fact, changes to the climate will affect almost all parts of our lives.

Regional impacts

In a scenario where global warming will reach at least 2°C by mid-21st century (as predicted by the report), southern Africa is highly likely to experience a reduction in mean precipitation (water vapour that falls, such as rain or drizzle or hail). This will adversely affect agriculture. Specifically, the region is likely to witness an increase in aridity, and droughts. We are already seeing this in Madagascar and South Africa.

This has serious implications for all sectors including agriculture, water and health. Drought would also likely reduce hydroelectric generation potential, adversely affecting energy dependent sectors. We are already seeing this at the Kariba dam which sits between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

In addition, there will be more tropical storms in the region. In southern Africa there’s been a southward shift in the occurrence of tropical cyclones. This is due to sea temperatures increasing as a result of global warming. The concern is that these events will be particularly destructive as seen in Madagascar and over Mozambique.


Read more: Rising sea temperatures are shaping tropical storms in southern Africa


In relation to eastern Africa, the report projected an increase in mean precipitation that favours agriculture. However, increases in the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and flooding may cause a counter effect in some areas, such as arid and semi-arid lands.

There has been some conflicting information regarding rainfall in eastern Africa. This follows observations that the general circulation models, used in preparation of IPCC reports, do not simulate the observed rainfall well over the region. Most models project increase in rainfall while observations report the opposite. This has been termed ‘the paradox of east Africa climate’. This observed shortening of rainfall season that is not captured by the models explains the paradox.

Besides rainfall, the recorded and projected temperature which is expected to increase will decrease the snow and glaciers in the region. A rise in temperatures will result in a rise in malaria cases especially in highland areas within the region.

Northern Africa is a climate change hotspot. The report anticipates with high confidence increase in temperatures in the region,causing extreme heatwaves. Projected drying will increase aridity that already begun to emerge in the region and worsen water scarcity.


Read more: A worsening water crisis in North Africa and the Middle East


Further, the situation will increase the risk of forest fires, a threat to ecosystems. As is currently seen in Algeria where, so far this year, more than 100 fires have been reported across 17 provinces, killing over 40 people.

The report also anticipated that there will be a reduction in mean wind speed over northern Africa. The wind speed is dependent on temperature and consequently atmospheric pressure changes. This will limit the region’s wind power potential, however – on a positive note – it will equally reduce dust storms that cause health impacts, such as causing and aggravating asthma, and bronchitis.

Similarly, west and central Africa are projected to record a reduction in mean precipitation and experience more agricultural and ecological droughts. All these cast a dark cloud on agriculture and water in the region.


Read more: Lagos is getting less rain, but more heavy storms. What it can do to prepare


Along the African coastlines, the relative sea-level rise is likely to contribute to an increase in the frequency and severity of coastal flooding in low-lying areas, like the recent cases in Lagos, Nigeria. This causes massive destruction to delicate coastal ecosystems and will displace communities that live in coastal towns. The sea level rise equally causes saltwater intrusion, limiting availability of fresh water.


Read more: Climate change is affecting agrarian migrant livelihoods in Ghana. This is how


Which way for Africa?

Despite the projection of decrease in mean precipitation over nearly all the regions of Africa, heavy precipitation and pluvial flooding is likely. The increase in wet extremes has far reaching effects on nearly all socioeconomic sectors, from agriculture, water, environment to infrastructure. These are some of the key sectors in socioeconomic development.

This – compounded by growing populations – gives a worrying picture of the challenges that lie ahead. This is likely to widen the existing development gap, calling for concerted effort to strengthen response mechanisms to future challenges posed by climate change.

Original Source: The conversation

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Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to hear an Appeal filed by CSOs which seeks to reinstate a petition against the construction of the EACOP project tomorrow.

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By Witness Radio team.

In a stirring development for environmental and human rights advocacy in East Africa, the Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) is set to hear an appeal that four East African civil society organizations (CSOs) filed to re-instate the petition challenging the construction of East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The organizations spearheading this appeal include the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) from Uganda, the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) also from Uganda, Natural Justice (NJ) based in Kenya, and the Centre for Strategic Litigation (CSL) from Tanzania.

This appeal comes in response to a ruling handed down in November 2023 by the Court of First Instance at the EACJ, which dismissed the case on ground that it was filed out of time.

The pipeline, spanning 1443 kilometers from Uganda to Tanzania, has been met with fierce opposition from many groups and environmental activists all over the world, who argue that it violates key East African and international treaties, as well as laws safeguarding human rights, environmental conservation, biodiversity, and the protection of Lake Victoria.

According to activists, the EACOP project is traversing through sensitive ecosystems, including protected areas and internationally significant wetlands, posing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems that local communities depend on for their sustenance posing grave environmental risks.

Furthermore, the project also termed as a curse by the majority of the would-be beneficiaries due to displacement of thousands of individuals from their ancestral lands, and human rights violations/abuses.

Despite the setback of the initial dismissal, the four organizations pressed forward their pursuit of justice.

In their appeal, groups contend that the Court of First Instance erred in its ruling, and want the Appellate Division to reinstate their case.

Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of AFIEGO, expressed that they remain resolute in their pursuit of justice through the East African Court of Justice and other courts.

He further mentions that millions of East Africans have high hopes in the regional court to protect their socio-economic and environmental rights and help them continue advancing their aspirations for climate change mitigation and clean energy.

Mr. Kamugisha added that they maintained hope that the court would prioritize the rights of East Africans over the profit-seeking endeavors of large corporations, even if it came at the expense of people.

According to the Executive Director of Natural Justice, Ms. Farida Aliwa, the EACOP and related projects have already led to serious human rights abuses, including evictions, assaults and environmental destruction

“In the interests of justice, we believe that this case needs to be heard at the East African Court of Justice, as a positive outcome will be good for the East African people and planet. The Court has the power to affirm that the governments, investors, and companies violate both national and international laws and that the EACOP project must be stopped. We trust that the East African Court of Justice will see this, and decide to hear the merits of this case.” She revealed.

The case will be heard tomorrow 9:00 East Africa Standard Time at the Court of Appeal of the East African Court of Justice.

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PFZW scraps funding from Total and others for failure to transition into a cleaner energy mix.

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By Witness Radio team.

In a significant move towards aligning its investments with environmental goals, Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW) has announced its decision to disinvest from fossil fuel giants such as Shell and Total.

This decision comes after two years of intensive engagement with fossil fuel companies, during which PFZW sought to encourage the development of climate transition plans in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

PFZW is the pension fund for the care and welfare sector based in the Netherlands. PFZW invests the contributions paid by employers and employees to achieve a high, stable, and responsible return over the long term at an acceptable level of risk. The fund invests globally in the investment categories of variable-yield securities and fixed-income securities. The pension fund had a total of € 217 billion of assets under management at the end of 2022.

According to PFZW, 310 oil and gas companies failed to demonstrate a clear transition to a cleaner energy mix.

Some of the big oil and gas companies that PFZW parted ways with are Total, Shell, and BP among others. These major corporations have frequently faced criticism for investing in fossil fuel projects.

For example, Total, among other projects putting the World climate at risk, is advocating for the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and Tilenga projects in western Uganda. Despite, environmental experts warning of potential environmental damage, Total has persisted in heavily funding these projects.

PFZW’s disinvestment strategy is part of its broader commitment to sustainability and responsible investing. The PFZW fund has sold its stakes in 310 oil and gas companies, totaling 2.8 billion euros, for failure to demonstrate a clear transition to cleaner energy sources.

During this period, dialogue with oil and gas companies was significantly intensified to encourage them to produce verifiable transition plans that support the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Joanne Kellermann, chair of the board of PFZW said that “the intensive shareholder dialogue over the past two years with the oil and gas sector on climate has made it clear to us that most fossil fuel companies are not prepared to adapt their business models to ‘Paris’. While the largest companies in this sector do invest in sustainable forms of energy, the switch from fossil to low carbon is not nearly fast enough. Incidentally, this reflects the slow pace we see globally in the transition to renewable energy.”

According to PFZW, seven listed oil and gas companies with a compelling climate transition strategy will remain part of the portfolio. This contributes to the goal of investing more in companies that play a positive role in the global energy transition.

Despite parting ways with numerous fossil fuel companies, PFZW will continue to invest in seven oil and gas companies that have demonstrated a commitment to transitioning towards renewable energy sources. These companies, including Cosan S.A., Galp Energia, and Neste Oyj, are regarded as frontrunners in the energy sector due to their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and invest in low-carbon technologies.

“The seven companies we will continue to invest in are the only ones that show a switch is possible. At the same time, it is disappointing that there are only seven. We encourage the biggest players in the oil and gas sector to also accelerate the switch to a cleaner energy mix.” She revealed.

Furthermore, to significantly increase its investments in companies focused on improving the climate and energy transition, allocating two billion euros over the next two years to companies with measurable impacts on climate and the energy transition reflecting PFZW’s dedication to achieving a climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2050, with interim goals such as a 50% absolute carbon reduction by 2030 for equities, liquid credit, and real estate.

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Museveni grants avocado growing investor 5 square miles of refugee camp land

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President Museveni has granted investors permission to use part of the land, where Kyaaka One and Kyaaka Two refugee camps sit, for avocado growing.

Museveni, in his letter dated January 30, 2024, directed the minister of relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, Hon. Hillary Onek, to secure 10 square miles of land (2,600 hectares) off the two refugee camps of Kyaaka one and Kyaaka two.

The president says half of the land will go to avocado-growing investors, while the other half will be used to develop an industrial part in the area.

“One purpose is for an Investor to use 5 Square Miles and develop a plantation of Avocadoes, with value addition facilities for the Avocadoes being part of the package. Avocado oil is important for use in the manufacturing of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The other square miles will be used to develop an industrial Park for that area,” the letter reads in part.

Museveni says the industrial park and avocado plantation will create approximately 200,000 jobs for Ugandans.

“An industrial Park in that area would create a lot of jobs, and so would a big plantation of avocadoes, apart from the other benefits for the Country. Namanve Industrial Park will create 200,000 jobs when it is fully developed,” the letter adds.

Museveni also noted that he had been informed that part of the land was invaded by land grabbers and promised to visit the area in April 2024, directing that the 10 square miles be secured from the available land.

“I intend to come and meet those people who invaded a well known Government land in April 2024. In the meantime, I want the 10 Square Miles from the surviving Refugee Camp of Kyaaka. That is the size of 11 Square Miles“, he said.

He says the industrial Parks would give Uganda the tax money to support both the citizens and the Refugees.

Original Source: Chimp reports  Via farmlandgrab.org

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