…Africa’s time is now as COP27 presents another opportunity for sustainable conversations
by Titilayo Obileye
Matters of Climate Change and global warming have been on the front burner for decades, and stakeholders have continued to champion the cause for regulations and policies that will effectively bring a balance to the world. In November this year, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, experts, and world leaders will converge to further proffer solutions at the 27th edition of the Annual Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27).
Africa has been on the receiving end of many adverse effects of Climate Change, however, 2022 presents a perfect opportunity for the continent to preach her gospel of a green environment.
It is a global growing trend that there is a long-term shift in temperatures and weather patterns that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change now more than ever, should prioritize. Every day, human activities continue to push planet earth without caution to care about its adverse effect on the environment and its habitats. Climate change reflects the variations in the average daily weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, and sunshine of a location over an extended period. Climate change in Africa and even the global world threatens all sectors dependent on climatic conditions.
Environmental scientists associate the climate change effect with the depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. The ozone layer prevents the heat from the sun from reaching the earth at high intensity. The ozone layer is depleted when certain gases are released into the atmosphere from human and natural factors. These gases are carbon monoxide, Sulphur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbon, and similar.
Recently, Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman tweeted “As we speak, thousands are homeless without shelter, without food. And the communication lines have been cut off. It is a serious humanitarian disaster” after the monsoon rain hit the country the eighth time. She also said in another tweet that among the dead are 326 children and that the government is utilizing all available resources to help the victims. As confirmed by the former diplomat, at least 903 people lost their lives in Pakistan from severe rains and flooding this summer.
Just this week, residents around the northeastern part of Texas were appalled after torrential rains struck Dallas and sent floodwaters rushing through streets and homes, while rescue crews fanned out across the region responding to hundreds of calls for aid.
According to the National Weather Service Forth Worth, more than nine inches fell at Dallas Forth Worth Airport over a 24-hour period that began on Sunday, marking the highest rainfall over that length of time that the area has seen since 1932.
Residents in the area are still recovering from torrential rains and floodwaters that inundated the entire neighborhoods and roads. Photos and video footage show firefighters rescuing residents from flooded homes and people escaping and swimming away from inundated vehicles. At least one person was reported dead, more than 100 homes have been damaged and floodwaters swept away vehicles.
Also this month, a report says that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on residents of Ekiti State, Nigeria to take precautionary measures against flooding, predicted to occur in the state and its environs later this year.
One thing that is a repeated factor in all these disasters is the reactive approach to these events, which should never be allowed to reoccur.
Climate Justice is Social Justice: The Need for Policies and Regulations
Environmental policies and mitigations that allow fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, concerning the development, implementation, and enforcement of these environmental laws should be a focus in this COP27.
Africa, being an emerging economy of the world, needs every protection she could get to foster growth and development if she must compete among the committee of nations of the world. Africa must also key into various international policies prescribed in 1997 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, through the Kyoto Protocol, and the European Union Change Mitigation which significantly reduced global emissions and also ensured a substantial and sustainable approach to the application of policies.
It is also important to adopt the Peer Review Mechanism method that allows internal checks among member-states of the COP, and member-nations of Africa at large to ensure regulations and policies reached COP27 are duly adhered to.
This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work through green finance and other mitigation measures to create more sensitization on climate distortion.
Titilayo Obileye is a Climate Change and Environment enthusiast who sought to change society through informed reports. She is also an On-Air Personality with Ayoba 91.5 FM in Ekiti State. She is a trained Communications and Strategy Specialist.