Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Policy clarity on climate change has never been more crucial

According to experts, one of the biggest security emergencies facing the world today is not the wars raging across the globe.

It is not even the fact that a man is North Korea has a bomb that he could unleash into the world.

Rather it has to do with global warming.

Same experts say we are moving closer and closer to a tipping point.

Something has to be done to save the planet, they say.

They tell us that as a result of that global warming, the world is like a frog in hot water.

But is anybody listening?

We are now at the mercy of nature. And nature can be an excessively powerful opponent to have.

But when treated nicely, it can be kind too.

Botswana should do her bit.

Botswana has too many plastic manufacturers.

Almost two years ago Botswana Government had given a clear deadline to both use and manufacture of plastic.

It is not enough for government officials to attend international meetings on global warming.

Policy positions at home and the implementations of those policies are much more important.

There has to be a clear reflection on those policies and also what Government does that it believes in science and that if not arrested global warming could negatively impact on the lives and livelihoods of people.

It seems like there is a feeling among those in decision making position that Botswana is too small an economy to have an impact.

That is not true.

Botswana has a very big role to play when it comes to fighting global warming and the effects of climate change.

Botswana Government has a greater advantage in that it is not only a regulator, but also a player in many industries. While this is by itself not necessarily a good thing, it at least gives government a vantage position to influence policy.

All companies seeking government finance could for example be required to demonstrate just what their role will be in mitigating global warming and reducing impact of climate change as an elementary requirement of them accessing finance.

And here we are talking over and above environmental assessment which Botswana government is doing a great job on at the moment.

Botswana Government is uniquely placed to recognize the danger and also play a leading role.

Government agencies, all the way up to the Central Bank should play a role.

And indeed, each of them has a big role to play.

The country relies heavily on tourism.

And this tourism is especially driven by wildlife that is found in pristine areas like the Okavango.

The wildlife is vulnerable to climate change just as are the areas where they are found.

Climate change will lead to the loss of vegetation. And already we are swing examples of that and also the impact.

One of the reasons there have been significant spoke in human and wildlife incidents has to do with the fact that animals are no longer able to get food in their traditional habitat, that leads them to leave those areas and stray to where humans alive and or rear their animals.

Evidence is we are on a downward spiral. Animals, especially elephants are killing people. The rivers are drying up. Some plant species and indeed animal species are disappearing.

Given the fragility of say the Okavango ecosystem, for example we would not be able to get it back were we to lose that to climate warming.

So, Botswana has a clear and vested self-interest to join hands and show its role in the fight against global warming.

These are issues that should make Batswana and Botswana Government anxious.

They are big issues with potentially life changing ramifications.

Yet big as they are, they only tell half the story.

Many Batswana, especially in the countryside still rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

They plough lands and rear animals.

Yet global warming has been making it incrementally difficult for agriculture and also for these farmers.

Global farming increases poverty levels and fuels hunger.

For countries like Botswana where food security remains a big concern, global warming with drive the possibility of achieving such security out of reach.

Water is increasingly in short supply. This applies to both rain water and underground water.

All signs point to the fact that it will get worse with time.

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