Greater Than Average Warming in Africa
Africa stands on the front-line of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Africa’s land mass and other geo-physical characteristics means that it will warm one and a half times more than the global average.
The consequences of global warming are likely to be more severe in Africa. Indeed, the World Meteorological Organisation has recently reaffirmed that African countries are already suffering major levels of warming and effects in terms of drought and other extreme weather events.
Extreme weather events are already disrupting Africa’s agricultural and other livelihood systems, which are more dependent on natural cycles. These effects will worsen unless global warming is reversed in time.
Transformation in Africa
The impacts of climate change, as well as the capacity of African nations to cope, are further complicated by the essentially primary commodity export-dependent economic structures inherited from colonialism and perpetuated since. This has resulted in a neglect of the economic and social needs of the rural and agricultural majority, limited domestic development of national and regional industry, and, above all, extreme weaknesses in overall productive capabilities.
Transforming these structures is essential to Africa’s ultimate response to the challenge of climate change. Such transformation encompasses building more resilient and people-centred agriculture systems; industrialisation and creation of decent work; addressing the immediate and systemic livelihood and social needs and challenges of women; conserving and using natural resources for local, national and regional needs; and other measures – all as part of a just transition to systems and methods of production and consumption that are compatible with the needs of the planet, as well as societies that place the needs of people above the narrow pursuit of profit.
Several African civil society groups have made clear demands for deep emission reductions in the North, the repayment of climate debts and the removal of barriers to technology.
Key demands by African civil society groups, such as the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) include:
- A global to limit temperature increase to well below 1.5C.
- Peaking of developed countries’ emissions as soon as possible with those economies becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
- The polluter pays principle – the repayment of Africa’s climate debts.
- The continuation of legally binding emission reduction targets for developed countries, the form of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
- The rejection of market mechanisms, particularly in relation to forests and soil carbon.
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Some statements and documents from African civil society groups are available below:
- “Stand Up For Africa! Stand Up For Climate Justice!” – PACJA-ATN-ITUC (2011).
- “One Africa, One Voice, One Position” – Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (2010).
- “African – Climate Justice Manifesto” – Pan African Climate Justice Alliance ( 2009).
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