Africa continues to bear the biggest brunt of climate change despite being the least emitter of greenhouse emissions. The continent suffers effects of severe climate change despite burning the least fossil fuels.
Evidently, the continent is paying for the sins of others. Counterparts further afield industrialised and got richer for exploiting the environment. To argue that Africa is innocent is disingenuous. We have embarked on destruction of the ecosystem, deforestation and reckless disposal of wastes including harmful chemicals and plastics.
As more frequent and severe climate extreme events such as flooding, drought, cold, heatwaves and swelling of rivers and oceans wreak havoc, time is nigh for governments, organisations and lobby groups to innovate ways to tackle climate change. For a livable future, the greatest responsibility rests with credible institutions with the continent appeal that include African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to institute mechanisms to realise climate financing and supplement efforts by the richer and notorious emitters.
Business lobby groups must up the game to resource the 54 countries under its ambit to effectively combat climate change and adaptation. Climate change is impacting the well-being of human societies that of the planet with loses and damages devastating. Every ecosystem is affected from tropical, reefs, mountain and oceans. Species and livelihoods are being depleted. The poorest countries are more affected due to lack of resources.
The finance facility by AfCFTA in form of advisory, loans or grants will buttress bid to mitigate, adapt and forestall maladpattion and other destructive human activities.
Most African countries grappling with the new phenomenon want clean habitat, clean water, sanitation and health care. Collective efforts should be ramped up to establish critical infrastructure including transportation, health facilities and energy which are largely compromised.
The continent is facing growing urbanisation, deforestation, unsustainable use of natural resources which has an unintended consequence that transfers to other regions. Indigenous people, ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups are grossly affected. The capacity of nations to help nature afford space and protection to build resilience and regulate nature that will in the long run produce clean water, pollinate crops, control pests and diseases and provide food.
AfCFTA must rally member countries to leverage on capital markets on green financing. My hunch is that investments in climate related lending shall be the next big opportunity in the next decade given the astronomical uptake at which institutions and governments have been responding to the facility. It is no brainer that the private sector alone will not raise the financing and therefore Green banks and green bond assets will be the game changer in recovery and steadying the ecosystem to a better livable future.
Going into the future, the continent could push for environment justice to get reparation and compensation for adverse climate change effects not for their making. The push does not necessarily have to come through loss and damage financing but a model scheme that cushions people from crop failure, loss of lives and destruction.
Granted, industrialised countries can be safeguards against opening floodgates of legal battles. There has been clamour for debt cancelation from most impoverished countries and time is nigh for African states to demand for resources to switch to 100 per cent renewable energy.
Instructively, continental lobby groups should supplement the efforts by supporting policies and interventions by governments. Any delay by nations under AfCFTA, means a closing window to salvage humanity. Half measures are no longer an option.
The writer is Kericho Senator and Senate Majority Leader