Many African Countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Mozambique, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Eritrea, Algeria, Sudan, Benin, Rwanda, Chad, Kenya and Libya have been counted among thirty (30) countries globally that are facing threats of the effect of climate change.
It is reported that these countries are being impacted by negative effects of climate change such as droughts, floods risk, Storms, Rising Sea levels affecting low-lying areas and coastal cities, Melting glaciers, water shortages, Declining crop yields, especially in tropical zones, food crises, Ocean acidification from rising CO2 levels among others.
These negative effects are leading to the destruction of tropical forests, forest fires, Malnutrition and heat stress, spread of vector-borne disease e.g., malaria, dengue fever etc., Physical displacement of populations and risks of mass migrations, Damage to ecosystems and species extinction, Sudden shifts in weather patterns and many more problems that are confronting humanity and the environment.
Thus, International Economist and a member of tralac Advisory Board who is also a former Chief Economist at the Word Trade Center, Patrick Low has challenged African Countries to seize the opportunity of the ongoing COP 27 in Egypt to concentrate on Green Growth to improve competitiveness and enhance access in big markets.
Addressing the 2022 tralac Annual Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Patrick Low who currently serves as a fellow of the Asia Global Institute emphasized that there is the need for a clear and united African position to addressing the climate issues affecting the continent considering the fact that Africa’s population will double by 2050.
Patrick Low distinguished between two main approaches to tackling climate change issues; namely abatement and adaptation where abatement which is also referred to also mitigation seeks to reduce emissions while adaptation refers to preparing the environment to sustain a given level of global warming. He however advised Africa to focus on the sustained growth trajectory relying on particularly the current integrated continental trading under AfCFTA.
“Africa’s challenge is not abatement, but rather mapping out a sustainable growth trajectory. Green growth will improve competitiveness and enhance access in big markets”. He advised.
The Geneva-based consultant on trade and trade-related matters also charged the continent to Support the development of a negotiated carbon price among major emitters and a market for carbon credits particularly when all the major emitters are not necessarily part of the top tier list of countries that face the worse threats from climate change.
“It is in all countries’ interest to act maximally, especially the major emitters on abatement and the richer countries also with finance for adaptation around the world”. He recommended.
Patrick Low encouraged Africans to continue pushing for countries particularly big emitters of CO2 to fulfill their commitment on Climate Change financing in order to have funds tackle the adaptation approach of handling climate change.
“Keep up the pressure on financing, remind RoW that Africa is an important carbon sink”. The International Economist advocated.
He added that adaptation is about reducing the impact of global warming and big emitters can pursue meaningful abatement policies, but this is less true of small emitters who are the most vulnerable to climate change with disparate income and development levels, vulnerabilities afflicting dozens of countries powerless to address them, even though everyone can play the appropriate part and therefore a Unified Africa can team with other parts of the world to corporate on the levels of addressing all climate change issues.