Perspectives on Climate Change: What the Media Need to Know By: Grace Akumu (Ms) Executive Director Climate Network Africa Nairobi – Kenya Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org Background/Science – IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007 • Simply put, climate change has been taking place over time due to natural variability or human activity • General agreement: Human activity has accelerated climate change than ever before Some Causes of Climate Change • Use/burning of fossil fuels e.g. hydrocarbons such as petrol, diesel, gas • Land use change (though small but significant) Some Recent Observations of CC • Increase in global temperatures. For example, 1995-2006 has been the warmest in recorded history • Sea level rise caused by thermal expansion of oceans, melting of glaciers, ice caps, Greenland ice sheet, Arctic ice sheet • In Africa, ice caps on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Rwenzori Mountains, have almost disappeared Recent Obsrvtns Contd.. • Increased precipitation – within and without seasons • Increased heat waves responsible casualties such as the 2003 heat wave in France • Increased hurricanes Projected Impacts of CC • Agriculture and food security threatened (increase in lose of yields, food prices) • Extreme wind and turbulence could decrease fisheries productivity • Water resources in some regions such as Sub- Sahara Africa will decrease and IPCC Fourth Assessment Report predicts that by 2020, 250 million Africans will be at risk of increased water stress and by 2050, 350-600 million Africans Impacts Contd.. • Will be at risk of water stress • Human health will be impacted. There will be increase in diseases such as malaria in highland areas e.g. Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, etc. • Tourism will be impacted. Africa will experience losses in animal species. In some parks in Sub-Sahara Africa, 25-40% of species may be endangered or extinct by 2080 Impacts contd.. • National economies will not be spared. In Kenya for example, there will be losses of some crops such a mangoes, cashew nuts, coconuts which could cost the national treasury some US$500 million for a 1 metre rise of sea level. • Cities may disappear or be submerged. Banjul, the capital of Gambia, could be submerged with a 1 metre rise of sea level. Mitigation • How can the world mitigate greenhouse gas emissions? • Undertaking energy efficiency • Fuel switching • Nuclear power • Reneawbles (hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal) Mitigation Contd.. • Control of non-CO2 emissions • Promoting efficient lighting • Promoting efficient appliances/air conditioners • Improving insulation • Afforestation, Reforestation and Forest Management Mitigation Contd.. • Promoting fuel efficient vehicles • Shifting from road transport to rail & public transport • Land-use planning • Cycling • Walking • Promoting more efficient electrical equipment • Recycling Adaptation to CC Impacts • Previously adaptation was a taboo to discuss in the climate change negotiations as priority had been given to mitigation which is a priority of industrialised countries • Now there is consensus that adaptation must be discussed along side mitigation • There is also consensus that adaptation requires a lot of funds but there is no consensus on how much is required Adaptation to CC Impacts • Nobody is an expert on adaptation • Indigineous knowledge should be supported. Some communities have used it for millennia • Exchange of ideas • Build capacity of developing countries in adaptation • Mobilising info which is already there • Share good practices for cost effectiveness Adaptation Contd.. • Meanwhile, IPCC has emphasised that Africa will suffer the most from the impacts of climate change. What the Media Need to Know • Climate change is a very technical subject • There are those few denyers of climate change, but they are very few in deed • Simplify the science of climate change for effective reporting • Remember climate change is a national security issue (threat to food security, water, energy, etc) Media Contd.. • Media from Africa should remember that climate change is not only an environmental issue but equally an economic and political issue with every region angling for their interest • African media should participate on a regular basis in the CC negotiations in order to enhance their knowledge and analytical capability • All media should be sensitive to gender Media Contd.. • Climate Change has become a life and death issue in Africa and other regions. Need to be reported rapidly and effectively • Work with and report local experts on climate change • Be aware of external politics of CC, e.g., the skewed nature of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Adaptation Funds and their deliberate fragmentation Media contd.. • Politics of Green Technologies and the lack of commitments of industrialised countries in the Climate Change Convention • WTO politics around Patenting, TRIPS, etc. Challenges to Media • The emergence of social media in reporting climate change on a minute by minute, hourly, daily basis reporting vs. mainstream media reporting climate change, sometimes on a once in while basis, or monthly, quarterly.. Media contd. • THANK YOU!
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