Climate Change (134)

NEWYORK, USA (PAMACC News) - Millions of people have taken to the streets today Friday September 20,2019 demanding their governments take greater climate action, in what  has been described as the largest climate protest in history.

On the eve of the UN climate Summit , record numbers of youth climate campaigners joined by parents, workers, trade unions, businesses and organisations in a global strike ramping up pressure on political leaders to respond to the climate crisis.

Rights groups including participants of the People' s Summit on Climate and human Survival organised by Amnesty International joined the youth protest today Friday September 20th.The protest rights groups say is also going on World wide, with picket lines and marches simultaneously going on from Russia to Johannesburg and Turkey to New Delhi.

One of the largest demonstrations took place in New York, where UN secretary general António Guterres has convened world leaders to, as he put it, “put climate action into higher gear” over one the most important climate Summit starting on Saturday September 21,2019.

What is the UN Summit AllAbout?

According to the UN secretariat the summit has been billed as a critical moment for political leaders to show their willingness to increase their climate plans, in a bid to bridge the ambition gap to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C – the tougher goal of the Paris Agreement demanded by vulnerable countries and backed by Guterres.

From Monday September 23, climate campaigners in Washington are expected to stage a protest against the lack of action of Donald Trump’s administration.

The strike is modelled on Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s own weekly protests, demanding her government take action commensurate to the findings of the science and a landmark report on 1.5C.

The ‘Fridays For Future’ movement she inspired has dramatically increased public pressure on governments to listen to people’s demands for more ambitious climate action.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Guterres said the leadership and initiative showed by youth around the world was “remarkable”.

“The youth has been showing an enormous leadership, and I hope that that leadership will have a very strong impact on the societies as a whole, on their families and, based on that, on their governments of their countries,” he said.

Young people are due to play a key role throughout the high-level meeting, starting with a youth summit on Saturday.

Of governments that were not taking action, Alexandria Villaseñor, co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising, said on Thursday: “They can listen to us now, or they can listen to us later… because our voice is going to continue getting louder as the climate crisis gets more urgent.”

“The audacity of simply asking for leaders to lead is extraordinary and we are indebted to young people the world over for pushing us to this place,” Guterres’ special representative for sustainable energy Rachel Kyte told journalists on Thursday.

The strike has also been supported by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which boasts 200 million members globally.

“Your standing up to governments, demanding action around climate has in fact been a game-changer,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC, addressing the youth. “The solidarity of the trade union movement globally is behind you.”

Dozens of trade unions and rights groups globally including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Irish union Fórsa, the South African Federation of Trade Unions and the UK’s Trade Union Congress, which is calling for employers to grant workers some 30 minutes to also join in the Protest.

The UK is also preparing for its largest climate protest yet, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to join more than 200 events on Friday.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “The school strikers have led the way in waking the world’s leaders up to the climate crisis,” which he said has “shown people power can move governments”. “It’s time for the rest of us to stand with them in solidarity,” he said.

In total, more than 4,600 strikes are registered in cities around the world on both Friday and 27 September, with and 1,240 actions being planned in Europe alone,reports say.



PAMACC News - Joseph Mithika Mwenda, a Kenyan climate activist and the head of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance has received the prestigious Earth Care Award by the Sierra Club at a colourful ceremony held in the Marriott Oakland City Centre in Oakland, California.

The award comes just a few months after Apolitical, a global network for governments announced him among the 100 most influential persons especially on climate policy, nominated by hundreds of public servants from around the world, including experts at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Harvard University, Oxford University, Bloomberg Philanthropies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organisation in the United States which brings together 3.5+ million members and supporters who fight and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world.

“This is not a singular honour but the recognition of the work by thousands of PACJA members and partners in Africa and elsewhere who have sacrificed all what they have to ensure we reach this level,” said Mwenda soon after he was nominated in June “With profound humility, I accept this Award that will no doubt energise my resolve to continue fighting to accord voice to those at the frontline of climate crisis.”

Mwenda has been steadfast in the fight for climate justice from the country level in Africa, to the international conferences through the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

The alliance is a consortium of more than 1,000 organisations from 48 African countries, and brings together a diverse membership drawn from Faith-based Organisations, Community-Based Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Trusts, Foundations, Indigenous Communities, Farmers and Pastoralist Groups with a shared vision to advance a people-centred, right-based, equitable, just and inclusive approach to climate change response.

PACJA is implementing a variety of projects that traverse direct programming, policy and advocacy, sub-granting and capacity building, mainly focusing on the most vulnerable groups that are “unreachable” in traditional development paradigms.

The Alliance plays a central role in key African processes spearheaded by African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Development Bank (AfDB), among them, the flagship Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev) Programme. It is a Partner in Adaptation of African Agriculture on Climate Change Initiative (AAA), whose main goal it to build resilience for the mainly smallholder agriculture from climate shocks.

TANGA, Tanzania (PAMACC News) - The first-time ever residential climate-science workshop took place in Tanga, Tanzania attracting around 40 participants. Climate scientists and journalists sat on the same table and dissectedclimate-science complexities to improve  climate reporting skills.

Organized by BBC-Media Action Kenya and Tanzania, Network of Climate Journalist of the Greater Horn of Africa (NECJOGHA) and SouthSouthNorth(SSN).
A diverse panel of journalist from various influencing media houseswere oriented on harmonizing their roles in empowering communities with accurate weather and climate information services.

The workshop saw the creation of an important bedrock of climate information dissemination, laid by Tanzania Meterological Agency, research consortias and journalist, that will transform climate reporting in Tanzania and across the East African region.

Patrick Luganda, NECJOGHA Executive Director, highlighted  the language factor has been a challenge in climate reporting, hence it was dealt in the workshop, appreciatinglanguage commonality so that the end-user at the grassroots (farmer, fishermen and etc.) can understand easily.
 

“We are here to build the capacity of the media to bring them to work together with the scientists in one room, now for one week these two systems merge together by understanding how the media works(scientists) and for media to understand how the scientists work” he adds.

Dr. ZabloneOwiti, Research Fellow for the Future Climate for Africa sweetened leveled various climate science parameters of importance to the journalists with elaborative infographics which made journalists understand clearly complex scientific issues which were cumbersome to report previously.

“ It was great to include some users (such as agriculture and fisheries extension officers) in the workshop to highlight the challenges they face in receiving and delivering climate information to end-users. This ensured that, beside learning about the available climate information and the inherent uncertainty, journalists were able to understand the information needs from end users and that their role is not just passing the information but also translating the information into actionable advisories targeting specific users”. He added.

Mr. Wilberforce Kikwasi, Meteorologist from Tanzania Meteorological Agency(TMA), who is a pivotal player across climate science information dissemination in enhancing efforts executed by early warning centers and disaster management departments in Tanzania, has helpedbridging the gap between the information gathers and journalists who relay complexscientific information to the audience.

“ I expect a lot of questions from journalists and wider coverage on climate issues, as they are now well informed on climate science matters, more importantly, improving cooperation between media and TMA, for effective reporting ” he added.

Climate reporting in Tanzania, will never be the same as Monica Mutoni, TMA-Communication Officer, ensures stakeholders for efficiency and accuracy in reporting.

“ it was clear that the complexity of scientific weather and climate information were simplified and scientists and journalists had time for consultation which was easier for both sides to understand the needs of each side and implement” she added.

Ms. Sophie Mbugua, science journalist from Kenya, highlighted the workshop’s ability to fuse collaboration between scientists from various areas and journalists, whereby she found the balance of participants to have driven key points home.

Mbugua intends to incorporate the rich knowledge and insights gathered into in-depth stories with credibility, researched facts and depth, resonating with what the Kenyan community need to read.

Radio Free Africa(one of Tanzania’s renowned radio ), Presenter/program managerYusuphMagasha,confidently cited his understanding level has heightened, but also, increased-weight on climate and weather services information reporting.

“ As journalists, we need to inform the listeners with efficacious and precise climate information that is significant to their lives, especially on farming, fishing, and livestock keeping, but also adding data journalism to give the information extra weight”Magasha adds.

Ms. Beth Mackay, Knowledge Manager at Future for Africa Programme for South South North (SSN) had high hopes for the workshop to create a two-way dialogue between journalists and scientists, adding “I had hoped for it to create an atmosphere of collaboration, which will allow a co-production of knowledge between scientists and journalists”.

Journalists across Tanzania working for various media houses, have been taking interest in climate reporting, something valuable to climate change communication. It is the matter of time, for communities to be well versed on climate related affairs.


OPINION

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land that was released on the heels of its Special Report on 1.5 degree left no one (except climate denials) in doubt of the bleeding planet and the pending planetary crisis or what others call climate breakdown ahead of us. The Report also came with some information on what happened and what needs to be done, why we find ourselves in this situation and why we need to act, when it all started and when we need change, and then how we can address the crisis.

While I acknowledge that in the Report’s to-do-list of possible interventions, most of which were not entirely new practices but what have been the norms over the years and are well collated and synthesized in the Report, it goes to say that after all, we are not short of solutions to address the problem. The challenge remains inadequate and in most cases lack of the ‘will power’ be it political and/or moral to do so and in other cases the passing of bulk and finger pointing.

It was good that the Report demonstrates how we can go about acting on the proposed solutions and acknowledges that this has to be done “at scale”. Could this then be the ‘game changer’ at least in the meantime? I would in my view think maybe, but the question that readily follows is what then needs to happen to take the actions to ‘a scale’ and where would the resources comes from to undertake the needed actions ‘at scale’?

All these brings to mind Article 9, 10 and 11 of the Paris Agreement, the over two decades of goal-post shifting climate negotiations, the avoidance and shying away from the emotive topics such as the Common But differentiated Responsibility/Respective Capacity (CBDR) and Transparency (of actions) Framework in climate negotiations.

Acknowledging that everyone and every country has a role to play to a certain degree of responsibility and respective capacity through each countries’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) and also as enshrined in Article 4 of the Paris agreement, it’s now time to draw a clear line between climate rhetoric, pledges, commitments and concrete actions. The best time to match words with actions was yesterday, a better time is today.

As the world approaches the red-line where impacts of climate change (not only on land and agriculture but in all other sectors) are already outpacing the needed actions and making adaptation to climate change much harder and costlier, there is a continent that is already at the edge of the Climate Red-line and taking more than its fair share - the Africa continent.

In Africa, about 97% of the crop land is rain-fed (climate sensitive) and the agriculture sector employs a labour force of between 60% and 65% contributing over 20% to the the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture featured prominently (about 80%) in the NDCs submitted by African countries as priority areas.

The Special Report on Climate change and Land already showed that climate change will continue to exacerbate land degradation, threaten food security while the tropics and sub-tropical region (Africa inclusive) will experience decrease agricultural productivity and also been the most vulnerable region to the impacts of climate change. This scenario poses dire consequences for the future of food production especially for a continent that holds about 60% of the world‘s uncultivated arable land. It should not be seen as only a threat to agriculture in Africa but a global challenge if the continent and the world must feed itself this century.

How agriculture is handled in Africa will determine in the short and long term how the world stands in feeding its over 7 billion people and also the projected impacts of agriculture, forestry and other land use on our global climate.

The Report (Climate change and land) therefore should serve as further wake-up call to action for enhance and increase mitigation ambition in the global north and support for concrete adaptation and mitigation actions in the global south by state actors while other non-state actors also have a role to play so that we may not cross the Climate Red-line.

 Dr. Samson Samuel Ogallah is Solidaridad Senior Climate Specialist for Africa Climate Scientist, Development Expert and Policy Analyst

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