Botswana’s Negotiator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Professor Julius Atlhopheng has said that funding mechanisms remain a major challenge for countries with low economies to implement their pledges for the Paris Agreement of 2015.
During the Conference of Parties (COP21), also Paris Agreement, countries pledged to reduce their emission of Green House Gases (GHG) so that they reduce the rise of global temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.
In an interview with this publication at his office at the Department of Environmental Science, Professor Atlhopheng indicated that all countries had submitted what was called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Although even developed countries are far from reaching their targets, developing countries are compromised by lack of funding. They do not have budget for tackling climate change.
The professor highlighted that the current excessive weather conditions where floods leave many families homeless even in Botswana is testimony. Botswana addresses disasters through Disaster Management Funds. While Botswana pledged to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2030, United Kingdom (UK); which will be hosting this year’s COP 26 has pledged to reduce by 68 percent. Moving from fossil fuels to green energy has been found to be one of the best ways to implement the NDCs.
“It is estimated that to achieve the set target of 15 percent GHG emission reduction by 2030, the country would require approximately USD18.4 billion. These funds will be allocated to energy and transport sector infrastructural developments which will contribute to emission reductions,” he said.
Botswana, he said is gradually moving into solar energy to reduce dependence on coal fired power station in Morupule. There is need for input by the private sector on implementation of green projects. The funds needed for reduction of emissions by countries is $100 Billion; which is made more difficult by advent of Covid 19. The withdrawal of the Unted States, one of the leading emitters in the world during the Donald Trump’s regime was also a blow to intiatives.
While Botswana is bound to struggle should disasters intensify, in the UK for example, where they were experiencing more high rainfall events as a result of climate change, the Government has committed an additional £5.2 billion to new flood and coastal defence schemes.
The countries agreed to tackle climate change through adaptation-devising means of living with impacts and mitigation-reducing the impacts of climate change.
He highlighted that Botswana is doing well in adaptation. He said; “The North-South water carrier project which moves water from North which is less populated to South is an example.”
Professor highlighted that in order to ensure that climate change adaptation measures are mainstreamed into national development planning and sectoral planning, the current environmental programmes and projects strategically entail climate change adaptation.