By Mumera Wisdom
Government has been urged to be serious about climate change in the face of continued erection of business centers and residential homes on wetlands around the country, a development which is working against climate change logic.
Various climate experts speaking at a Mass Public Opinion Institute event on Climate Change in Harare lamented the seeming lackadaisical approach of government to the dire issue which has resulted in incessant extreme weather scenarios over the past years.
Currently, the country is suffering the effects of a drought that destroyed many crops leading to over 2 million people being declared in need of food assistance whilst the country also experienced a heatwave earlier this year.
Zimbabwe has allegedly not been abiding by the SADC protocols on climate change which experts says did not lay down any obligations.
“It’s hard to convince the private sector and the public about the seriousness of climate change when the government itself seems not to take the issue in the serious light that it deserves,” said Anna Brazier,, a Sustainable Development consultant.
“Harare is built on wetlands. If we continue the building of houses and business centers on these wetlands we are actually creating floods in the future as these wetlands act as funnels for water,”
“We need to come up with Zimbabwean solutions to the climate change issues as the global changes will have more impact upon us here than in the Western world, say in New York as compared to Bikita or Zvishavane.”
Nyasha Chishakwe from the Center for Applied Legal Resources (CALR,) stated that the government was following ulterior motives in signing yet not focusing on the real issues of mitigating climate change after.
“Government has been signing agreements and protocols but it has not effectualised them by following the stipulations. They are several benefits to signing even without following, they bring financial support.
“If we don’t sign we may be termed a pariah state. At times we go in because we don’t have a room to bargain and we are forced, we need to be part of the international community,” she said.
The University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Agriculture Professor Paul Mapfumo lamented the continued dependence on rain-fed agriculture in the country even after the realisation that rainfall has become erratic due to global warming induced changes.
“We are too dependent on rain fed agriculture and that needs to change because due to the changes in the climate we are never going to be certain about the state of the weather going forward.
“Currently we are seeing little effort going towards improving out natural resources which are declining leading to poor soil fertility which in turn now needs more investment so as to be productive,” he said.
Elisha Moyo, the Principal Climate Change Research Officer also concurred and spelt a grim picture of a world and country that has gone over the brink in terms of destroying the planet.
“Even if we were to stop the emission of greenhouse gases today, the positive changes can only be felt only in much later generations since the atmosphere already contains a large mass of dangerous gases.
“Damning for Zimbabwe is that by the end of the century the average temperature could have increased by 3% whilst the global average is 2% even though we are not the main culprits in the emission of gases,” he said.
According to recalculated figures done in 2015 Zimbabwe’s Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions where 26 996 with the energy sector accounting for 49% and agriculture contributing 40%.
Industry and waster contributed 5% and 6%.
The country’s total GHG’s emissions contribute less than 0, 05% of global emissions, making it a low emitter.
Among some of the objectives for Zimbabwe in climate change mitigation measures include downgrading emissions per from 3 tonnes to 2 tonnes by 2030.