Various parts of Africa are faced by similar but quiet diverse effects of Global Warming. West Africa is most affected by high temperatures and irregular rainfall patterns accompanied with sea level rise. In East and Central Africa, major effects of global warming is in the word ‘warming’. That part of Africa is extremely warm which is resulting to droughts and hunger; in a long term, it is affecting the agricultural sector and standard of life for rural livelihoods. In South and North Africa, global warming is affecting coastal resources through sea level rise and also rising temperatures.
Global Warming which known worldwide as the rise in the average global temperatures due to excess organic (methane, butane, hexane, other hydro carbons) and inorganic pollutants (oxides of Carbon, Nitrogen and Sulphur) in the atmosphere –which continuously form secondary pollutants in the atmosphere.
In our current century, background concentration of some Greenhouse Gases have exceeded their natural or previous levels. This is greatly attributed to modernization and urbanization in recent times. The use of sophisticated technology for daily activities and high volume of waste which neither recycled nor re-used. In Africa, our contribution towards global warming comes largely from land use and forestry sector. Deforestation and land degradation has been a major factor for almost all parts of Africa. In Ghana, Togo, Benin, Central Africa Republic, Burkina Faso, and other parts of Africa, rural folks resort to cutting down trees for fuel – mainly firewood for cooking. Illegal chainsaw logging of forest timber and woody trees has also been a challenging factor as these trees plays a vital role in carbon reduction. Additionally, power generation in Africa has mostly been dependent of fossil fuel with a marginal generation source from hydro. The generation of power or electricity from fossil fuel has also added up to global warming.
Measures to Combat Global Warming
Ghana has a vision to generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources; it’s already 2016 and nothing is being done towards that policy and vision. The country currently generate its power from thermal plants and hydro sources, but we are hopeful during this period Ghana will be able to achieve its goal. In Morocco, there is great news and efforts to combat global warming. Morocco will host the world’s largest solar plant (Ouarzazate) in 2020 before UAE completes its mega solar project. Morocco will produce 580 Megawatts from solar which will cease the country from depending on fossil fuel. Nigeria has also entered into a new agreement which is expected to produce over 100 Megawatts of solar by 2030. South Africa is leading in Sub-Sahara Africa when it comes to renewable energy, that is a good effort towards a clean future and fighting Global Warming.
In West Africa, there are lots of initiatives in Ghana, Nigeria and other parts to replace biofuel with clean cooking stoves. Instead of cutting trees as firewood for cooking, there are are initiatives supported by the World Bank, UNDP and other larger organizations which introduces sustainable cooking stoves that uses an efficient way of using charcoal or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking.
In addition to these efforts, REDD+ in Kenya, Uganda and other is helping to reduce carbon content in the atmosphere through its carbon trade system called REDD+. Farmers/communities have the chance to plant trees and get paid for the amount of carbon the trees sequestrate from the atmosphere – amazing right!
Also, through environmental activism, some civil societies including the Green Africa Youth Organization have spearheaded Global Warming education programmes for junior high schools in rural schools where there are lots of forest reserves, and also education events which focuses on energy efficiency. Besides these, there are other great initiatives in other parts of Africa – like Angola’s new laws to protect forests as part of their vision to stop illegal wildlife trade. Congo’s new national park spanning over two million acres which will reduce illegal chainsaw timber logging and Ghana’s Forestry Commission introducing a 200 Ghana cedi’s (equivalent to $50) for individuals who report illegal chainsaw timber logging activities.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that Global Warming affects Africa. As a matter of fact, tropical Africa is very prone to Global Warming than most temperate regions and semi-tropics. We need a collaborative effort to save our continent and planet.