Sunday, February 5, 2023

Botswana’s atmosphere has record levels of Carbon dioxide, Methane

As the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP27 is underway in Egypt, the first edition of Botswana Environment Statistics released recently states that atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases warming our planet – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide- all reached new record highs in Botswana.

This claim is contained in the Botswana Environment Statistics: Climate Change Digest 2021 which among other things notes that since the year 2000 to 2015, Botswana Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been on an upward trajectory.

“It is evident that Botswana’s Greenhouse gas emissions have been on an increasing trend since the year 2000 to 2015. The year 2015 had the highest GHG emissions at 12,622.11 Gg CO2-eq which was a 71.9 percent increase from the initial year 2000, the Energy sector being the major contributor,” states the digest which was prepared in conjunction with the Environment Statistics Unit (ESU). Gg CO2-eq represents Giga grams of Carbon dioxide equivalent which is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases.

While Worldometre, a website that provides counters and real-time statistics for a variety of topics, notes that Botswana’s global share of carbon dioxide is one of the lowest at 0.02%, the Climate Change Digest 2021 states that carbon dioxide remains the most emitted greenhouse gas in the country, particularly during the review period.

“The most emitted GHG during the review period was Carbon Dioxide (CO2) with a total of 101,862.78 Gg CO2-eq followed by Methane (CH4) and Nitrous oxide (N2O) with totals of 46,253.58 Gg CO2-eq and 3,065.04 Gg CO2-eq respectively,” notes the report.

While the digest notes that “the inventory of GHG emissions in Botswana has only been estimated up to the year 2015” there is high likelihood that greenhouse gas emission remained on an upward trajectory.

This is also corroborated in the State of Global Air 2020 report which highlighted that Botswana has high concentration of deadly particle pollution, at two and half times over the World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold limit.

The Energy sector was the major contributor to the total greenhouse gas emissions in Botswana while Agriculture, Forestry and other Land use (AFOLU) came in second.

“The Energy sector was the major contributor to the total greenhouse gas emissions in Botswana; they had their highest contribution during the year 2015 which was 9,310.72 Gg CO2 eq….Even though AFOLU saw a drop from the initial 1,707.11 Gg CO2eq emissions in 2000 to 1,403.78 Gg CO2 eq during the year 2015 (-17.77 percent increase), it was the second major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions during the 2000 to 2015 period. However, the waste sector had the highest increase in emissions from the initial year to 2015 which was by 244.82 percent though it contributed the least to the national total GHG emissions,” states the report.

Experts attribute Botswana’s failure to address particle pollution to a lack of sufficient smart technologies, a lack of better air quality management plans, and an increase in the importation of low-quality vehicular cars.

After ratifying the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994, the Government of Botswana has met the expectations set by the climate change secretariat to conduct the country situation assessment regarding its position, national circumstances and responses to climate change.

The climate digest also provides reliable and recent statistics on climate change focusing on temperature and rainfall, greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous events and disasters, agricultural production, and water resources.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper