CEI Correspondent: Robert Mburia, Kenya

The Nairobi Declaration

Climate Emergency Institute attended and participated in the UNEP GMGSF-13 (13th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum) held in Nairobi, Kenya from February 18th to February 19th, 2012. This meeting was a preparatory gathering for the 12th session of the GC/GMEF (Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum), which was held from 20th to 22nd February 2012, also in Nairobi.

This meeting was held in advance of the Rio 20+ Summit on sustainable development in Brazil. The strengthening and upgrade of UNEP institutional structure, as well as its capacity in terms of coverage and funding so as to adequately handle the various global environmental challenges, was identified as a major drive in achieving the sustainable development goals, as well as handling the elusive environmental issues. This is clearly outlined in the zero draft where the UNEP is to be upgraded into a specialized agency.

The need for accountability and transparency was reiterated by most of the major groups that participated at the local and national levels, which called for an Ombudsperson for Future Generations. The zero draft draws heavily on environmental issues. Nonetheless it lacks specific standards and well articulated strategies on who does what, when should “what” be accomplished and how “what” is to be accomplished.

The strengthening of the IFSD (Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development) was echoed well ahead of the Rio +20 on sustainable development. Underpinned by Principle 10 was the role of civil society involvement in sustainable development: involvement in the sustainable development forums and capacity building by UNEP to put into operation the principle guidelines as outlined in the Bali convention.

The NGOs called for collaboration between government and civil societies in implementation and enforcement of environmental laws in the local, regional and international levels by the strengthening of access to justice. On the international front, MEAs (Multilateral Environmental Agreements) and governments can be heartened so as to open up to public participation in the compliance, to the extent that the citizens can call for reviews of this process by independent bodies.

There were problems in the socio-environmental and economic sectors that needed to be addressed. The Rio 20+ gives a unique opportunity for major reforms to be carried out. If such radical and immediate reforms are not carried out, (in which zero carbon emissions are passed and governments as well as other relevant areas actively participate and propagate green economy principles) then Rio 20+ will be a failure. Unfortunately, neither Rio +20 nor the zero draft provides enough enthusiasm for these reforms, and both lack specific address of issues of social equity and justice.

The least that Rio 20+ should offer is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) objectives. The specific issues touching on the zero draft identifies were overseen by both the IEG (Independent Evaluation Group) and the IFSD.

The major groups identified 4 broad issues of concern:

Implementing Rio Principle 10 and the Bali Guidelines – whatever IEG and CSD structures emerge from Rio + 20 should incorporate P10 in their substance and modus operandi.

Rio + 20 needs to launch a global convention and encourage regional P10 conventions.
Rio + 20 should commit to supporting the Bali Guidelines.
P10 should be integrated into the international forum, including the international dispute settlement processes.

The groups also offered several specific recommendations:

A specialized agency on environment based on UNEP and a SD Council.
Commitments that are sufficient, and for accountability, not just in terms of paragraph 128, but also more broadly.
Representation of the interests of future generations at all levels of government.(as through an ombudsperson with a strong mandate)

Climate change action -apart from just waiting for the UNFCCC 2020- is essential if the Rio +20 Summit is going to be a success. The zero draft lacks provisions for facilitating climate action leadership as well as the required ambition. It is important to note that even if climate change were halted now, Africa, particularly sub Saharan Africa- would need immediate assistance in adapting to the effects of climate change already experienced.

Unless radical measures and strategies are adopted at Rio 20+, there will be no substantive progress on the goals after Rio 20+. This is because governments, as well as corporations, and local and international communities are presently being weakened economically, socially and politically by the effects of climate change. Without ambitious and concrete measures, strengthening of the UNEP structural framework, and without upgrading UNEP to this status, this branch of the UN will remain helpless in combating the now pressing environmental issues.

Climate Emergency Institute retains the position that climate change is a present and future reality and will continue to reverse, oppose, and challenge every effort directed at sustainable development. Unless emergency proactive and radical strategies are adopted that involve zero carbon emissions and building community resilience against climate change, the development will continue at levels which will deteriorate catastrophically to irreversible depths.
Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities

Robert Mburia, Kenya


The Rio+20 Zero Draft acknowledges that there have been serious setbacks in the development already gained in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, owing to multiple and interrelated factors such as food insecurity, climate change and biodiversity loss. The draft further acknowledges that the future predictions of these disasters are likely to aggravate the already worsening situation, and that urgent responses must be taken (11). It is widely acknowledged that human population growth and economic activities are the leading causes of the negative changes observed in the earth’s biomes (WHO, 2005). 

Agriculture contributes significantly to climate change in both positive and negative ways. However, agriculture offers a unique opportunity to draw up the carbon levels that are presently in the atmosphere. Could this be a key in combating climate change at all levels of growth and development?

Climate change: Development and Ecosystems

The UNEP (2009) rightly observed that,

‘Science has established that global climate change increases the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters such as floods, fires, and droughts, and causes ecosystem degradation. This in turn reduces the resilience of ecosystems and human societies against the impacts of climate change and the increased risk of disasters. Ecosystem degradation compromises the carbon sequestration ability of natural systems, and may turn these systems from carbon sinks to sources, thus exacerbating the downward spiral. Unwise use of ecosystems by human beings aggravates this vicious cycle’.

The UNEP further notes that climate change increases the risks of climate related disasters which contribute to loss of lives and property as well as reducing the resilience of vulnerable ecosystems and communities. There is a need to marry economic development and growth with ecosystems integrity. The site observes that changes made in the ecosystems have resulted in socioeconomic development, but such gains have come along with ecosystems service degradation putting present and future generations at a great risks. It is worth noting that some of the changes already observed in the ecosystems are irreversible.


 Fig 1. ; Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide CO2 over the past 400 years; Source: NOAA, 2011

NOAA (2012) put together a list of major global disasters that took place over time which have been related to climate change. It should be noted that disasters have increased in frequency as well as in magnitudes: claiming more lives, and destroying property, as well as massive destruction of biodiversity and other vital ecosystems. 

                                                          Rank Event When Occurred 
                               ​​ (2011 global weather Climate events: source; NOAA 2012. ) 

                                              1 East Africa's on going Drought 
                                              2 Thailand - Flooding in July–October 
                                              3 Eastern Australia Flooding December 2010 - February 2011 (Austral Summer)
                                              4 Consecutive La Niña Events Throughout 2011 
                                              5 Brazil Flash Floods 6th -12th January 
                                              6 Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) 16th - 17th December 
                                              7 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Throughout 2011 
                                              8 Colombia Rainfall March–May 
                                              9 Mexico Drought Throughout 2011 
                                              10 European Drought September–November

The interlink-ages between environmental changes and communities’ well-being, and socioeconomic growth are complex. While some are direct, other causal factors are indirect, and temporal and spatial factors play big roles in enhancing these changes. WHO (2005) gives classic examples on how climate change can cause stress on coral reefs, coastal ecosystems and agriculture, leading to malnutrition, stunted child development, and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, among other diseases. Deforestation can lead to alterations in infectious disease patterns whereby the vectors’ breeding patterns are affected over time. There is a direct link between climate change and forest loss, whereby climate change may lead to forest loss and vice-versa.

There is a growing awareness that a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is the surest way to go. However, this has to be put in place with much policy and institutional infrastructure to bring about the necessary compliance as well as capacity to achieve this, knowing that a green economy is not an end in itself but a means to achieve desired goals. Carbon emissions and other short term climate change forces need to be reduced to zero levels, and vulnerable communities empowered to recover their resilience as well as adapting to the changes in their habitats. Perhaps in a bid to satisfy human desires fewer considerations have been given to ecosystem services and the rights of animals and micro organisms have been greatly violated.

Hauser et al (2009) concurs that there is a great chance that during this century the planet could experience a higher constant rate of climate change than has been experienced in the last 10,000 years. With the data collected from the surface temperature records, high resolution proxy data, climate models and other areas, there has been a consistent prediction of the magnitude and structure of large scale natural climate variability over the last 1,000 years.

Impacts of climate change in Africa

Africa faces many intertwined problems: conflicts, corrupt governments, weak institutions, high poverty ratios, diseases, high illiteracy levels, etc. IPCC (2007) indicated that the steady changes in climate have the most intense impacts on agriculture and least intense impacts on the manufacturing industries. Africa depends highly on rain fed agriculture, and according to the World Bank (2010), Africa is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

The UN Human development report 2007/2008 singles out climate change as the most challenging phenomenon that inhibits development in the 21st century. The report shows that poor countries will be the worst hit during the initial stages due to their low resilience; in the latter times even the richest of the countries could crumble under these catastrophic impacts.

Marchiori, Maystadt and Schumacher (2010) in their study on climate change and migration in sub Saharan Africa, underpinned the fact that in some Saharan countries there is as high as 90% reliance on rain fed agriculture and thus the slightest climate change sees massive impacts in terms of employment, food security and poverty in these countries. For several decades Africa has been relying on food aid from developed countries and food self reliance seems an elusive dream.

The FAO identifies the link between climate change and sustainable development as follows: climate change is an impediment to development, and sustainable development is a key to mitigation and adaptation. The FAO notes that dealing with climate change exclusively may be too expensive, and that such undertakings must be integrated into development agendas.

Africa’s large public irrigation schemes are greatly affected by poor governance structures as well as insecure land tenure systems that discourage farmers’ investments and engender exploitation by government agencies. This is linked to the low cost recovery, poor performance, low water use efficiency, poor crop yields, low water yields, low water productivity and very poor sustainability; representative of many irrigation schemes.

Climate Change and Civil Conflicts in Africa

PNAS in their research showed that climate change could increase the likelihood of civil war in Sub- Saharan Africa by over 50% within the next 20 years.


Source: University of California- Berkley as cited in Maclay (2009)

The study found a strong link between global warming and recent conflicts in sub Saharan Africa. This was further attributed to the fact that over 70% of the population in this region depends mainly on agriculture with crops that are highly sensitive to the climate changes. With climate change, there are massive crop failures and loss of livelihoods, all which commonly lead to the taking up of arms. In this scenario, climate change is seen as a catalyst in sparking and fueling civil conflicts.

Data collected for the period of 1980-2002 showed that civil war was more likely in hotter years than usual average temperature years in some countries. With an increase of approximately 1 degree Celsius or higher, conflicts would increase across the continent by nearly 50% (Maclay, 2009). Such findings present a doomed future for African nation unless radical steps are taken to:
1. Curb climate change
2. Build the capacity of these communities in terms of resilience as well as adaptation
3. Provide structures for mitigation

It is clear that huge controversial debates regarding climate change as well as its impacts exist. What is evident is the fact that climate change is real as documented by the UNEP (2010), the IPCC (2007), and the NOAA (2011), among others. Climate change is the average changes in the overall weather conditions over a long period of time. Unless such understanding is taken into considerations endless debates will continue.

On the other hand Ned and Zeller (2011) have developed a paper that seeks to show that anthropogenic factors (human induced factors) significantly account for the present levels of climate change. In 1824 Joseph Fourer conducted experiments that led to the conclusion that green house gasses absorb and retain heat, leading to global warming.

PLoS ONE conducted a research study that showed a reduction in malaria incidences in eastern Africa in the last 10 years due to climate change. However, other researchers conducted in Tanzania around the same period of time in the Ngorongoro area showed a significant increased in the malaria transition rates.

Climate change issue is food security issue

FAO (2010) 925 million people do not have enough to eat and 98% of these are in the developing countries.
Women make up slightly more than 50% of the global population but account for over 60% of the world’s hungry people (FAO, 2010).
655 of the world’s hungry people live in 7 countries: India, China, DRC Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia (FAO 2010).
Over 70% of the world’s underweight are children are aged 5 years and below, and over 50% of these are in south east Asia(UNICEF, 2006), while 10.9 million children in developing countries die every year owing to malnutrition and disease related factors (UNICEF 2007).

Food price volatility and escalation 

Fig 3; food prices sky-rocketing as food insecurity increases; FAO (2012)

The FAO (2008) indicated that climate change will impacts all the segments of food security which are classified as food availability, food utilization, food accessibility and food system stability. The FAO further indicated that human health, livelihood, assets, food production and distribution channels will be significantly affected by the changes experienced in the climate. This is because of the close interrelationships between most of the life systems. For example, hunger or lack of food may cause a person or community to be more prone to diseases by reducing their immune system, while at the same time exposing them to poverty because they will not have the energy needed to work in farms and other places. This phenomenon is likely to hit hard and first those communities that are vulnerable and already food insecure, like most of the countries in sub Saharan Africa.

The FAO, in their 2008 report, indicated the way of mitigating climate change was through a reduction of green house gasses, storing carbon in the short term, and curbing carbon emissions. However, this is risky (and at the same time expensive), owing to the fact the developed countries have more evolved mechanisms of coping with climate change for now, whereas developing countries lack the capacity to handle climate related issues.

Agriculture and Climate Change

Current agriculture patterns, food production, and distribution play major roles in the emission of green house gasses (World Future Council). This is mainly due to: deforestation; biodiversity loss; soil erosion; salinization of soils; water pollution; and ocean acidification.

Agriculture, apart from producing carbon dioxide, methane gas and nitrous oxide to levels which are significantly high, also alters the Earth’s land cover, which in part changes the ability of the land to absorb or reflect heat, leading to radioactive forcing. However, organic agriculture is a major boost in reducing carbon emissions.

Consequently agriculture plays a highly significant role in reducing the carbon in the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis that uses up carbon in the air and produces oxygen. Agriculture is a real opportunity for curbing climate change, and the challenges posed by agriculture can be solved in many ways. Energy productions which produce carbon fail in this manner. The greatest challenge the world now faces is high levels of carbon in the atmosphere leading to global warming.

Agro forestry presents unique opportunities for curbing climate change. However, this must be distinguished from just “tree planting” practices which maybe expensive and risky. Farmers in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso grow trees (in addition to farming) by nurturing trees that grow freely in their farms alongside sorghum and other plants. It should be noted that government policies play a great role in achieving this venture. Governments that allow farmers to own trees in their farms will see them nurture and take care of these trees. Trees provide shade, increase production through enabling soils to hold water and reducing heat, raising the water table, act as wind breakers, provide mulch raising soil fertility, and provide firewood, among other services. This offers a unique opportunity for organic agriculture.

The fact that the interactions between plants, roots and micro organisms found in the soil are important factors in controlling nutrient cycles- and hence ecosystem productivity and carbon sequestering in the soil-opens a whole new way of investing in easier methods of removing carbon from the atmosphere alongside other efforts.

Severe drought experience in the horn of African countries (specifically Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti) was greatly attributed to the global climate change where rainfall came in very small quantities, leading to massive crop failures, and loss of livestock, wildlife, and biodiversity, as well as loss of human lives.

Climate change is not solely to blame for most of the problems facing the planet now. Scientists noted that the La Nina was the worst system that hit the horn of Africa in over 60 years. Usually climate change acts as a catalyst to already bad situations, whereby dry spells become drier and prolonged. Due to poor governance or fragile ecosystems or poverty, famines and droughts overcome communities’ resilience and coping abilities.



                             Photograph: Sayyid Azim/AP

The NOAA ranked 2011 as the warmest year, but further results from the same organizations show that February of 2012 was the hottest month. This comes as the IPCC noted in their fourth assessment report that even if carbon/ green house gas emission was halted now, the impacts would still linger for about 30 years before any restoration changes would begin to be felt. The world is now committed to climate change, ozone layer depletion and other environmental issues that threaten life in the planet earth.

The need presently is not just to bring green gas emissions to zero, but to find innovative ways of removing the massive carbon gas in the atmosphere before it is too late.


NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for Annual 2011, published online December 2011, retrieved on March 26, 2012
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for Annual 2011, published online December 2011, retrieved on March 26, 2012
Source: FAO news release, 14 September 2010. As cited in WFP, 2012 at
The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007 as cited in WFP (2012) at
WHO, 2005
Hauser et al, (2009) The Effects of climate change on US ecosystems, synthesis and assessment product 4.3,
IPCC (2007) Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K. and Reisinger, A. (Eds.) IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland.
UNEP (2009)
World Bank (2010) Development and climate change: stepping up support to developing countries, progress report, World Bank group.
Luca Marchiori, Jean-François Maystadt and Ingmar Schumacher (2010) Another Inconvenient Truth: Climate change and migration in sub-Saharan Africa, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, LdA and the Venice, International University, VIU
Ned N. & Zeller, K. (2011) Watts Up With That? Unified Theory of Climate,
FAO (2010) Know Your World: Facts About Hunger and Poverty,
Statement outcome of the UN RIO+20

Reclaiming Rights at Rio: CSO Consultation to the African Agenda in the Rio+20 Summit

CEI participated in the Reclaiming Rights at Rio: CSO Consultation to the African Agenda in the Rio+20 Summit, Nairobi meeting together with representatives of organizations from more than 14 countries in Africa, that comprised of small farmers, youth groups, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, women, laborers, environmentalists, faith-based organizations, local authorities and NGOs from African Civil Society.

​​This year (2012) marks two decades since the Earth Summit declaration which recognized the need to change the unequal and unsustainable character of dominant development patterns and set down commonly accepted principles of sustainable development grounded on human rights, and a long-term action plan (Agenda 21) that was to be implemented by multilateral bodies, states and non-state entities at the global, national, and local levels.

We are aware that 20 years hence, the world is nowhere near its acclaimed goals of achieving sustainable development. The multiple crises on finance, food, climate and energy, and failure in governance have resulted in further misery and poverty to the world’s people as a few dominant countries and people continue to control and own global resources to suit profit and corporate-driven interests.

8. Climate change threatens life, human rights, pushes people into poverty and locks millions deeper into it. The world has to transit away from the fossil-fuel based profit driven economy and abandon unsustainable patterns of manufacture, energy, agriculture and transportation that are behind ever-rising greenhouse gas emissions. The Global North has historical and moral obligation and has to take the lead by making rapid and drastic emissions cuts and assist poorer countries pay for the costs of their own transition through new and additional finance and technology transfer. ​​

​​Read the full report 
Nairobi declaration.
21 Sept 2013 Africa and climate change: What's at stake?
Climate change predictions show a very bleak future for Africa.
by Dr Richard Munang Africa Climate Change Head for UNEP

Crop models published inRobust negative impacts of climate change on African agriculture by W. Schlenker and D. Lobell indicate that by 2050
mean declines for maize, sorghum, millet, groundnut, &  cassava are
−22,   −17, −17,  −18, & −8%  respectively

Climate Change Worsening the Food Situation in
​Sub Saharan Africa
, 18th June 2012

Projected Melting on Mount Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya, 18th June 2012.

Impacts of Climate Change on Nairobi National Park, 25th June 2012

Climate Change and Desertification in the Sahara, 14th November 2012

Droughts and Floods in Africa: A Climate Change Perspective,
​24th November 2012

Impact of Climate Change on Great African Mountains, 28th November 2012

Climate Change: Coastal Cities in Danger, 9th January 2013

Climate Change, Environmental Sustainability and Food Security, 9th January 2013

MDGs and Climate Change in Africa
, 4th March 2013

Climate Emergency Africa
This page is maintained by CEI ​Africa Climate Change Head Robert Mburia
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​      Africa's lands and populations are
                     ​the most climate change vulnerable in the world

​It is well known that the most climate change most vulnerable region is Africa.

However ​​research into Africa climate change impacts has been neglected, and
Africa is not given special consideration in climate or energy international policy
discussions and plans.​​

What research there is we have combined in a chart of the climate by crop
with yield ​reduction projections. The average for all crops is -17%,
​which is clearly catastrophic.

The single best research paper is
​​Robust negative impacts of climate change on African agriculture W. Schlenker and D. Lobell


The present styles of living are way beyond the Earth’s carrying capacity. Ecosystem degradation is rampant in almost all regions of the world. The FAO concurs that habitats and ecosystems in Africa currently face threats from several factors such as deforestation, land degradation, and massive reliance on the earth’s biomass for energy needs such as fuel, charcoal and firewood.

The UN Rio+20 statement acknowledged that there have been serious setbacks in the development already gained in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, owing to multiple and interrelated factors such as food insecurity, climate change and biodiversity loss. The draft further acknowledges that the future predictions of these disasters are likely to aggravate the already worsening situation, and that urgent responses must be taken (11). It is widely acknowledged that human population growth and economic activities are the leading causes of the negative changes observed in the earth’s biomes (WHO, 2005).

Agriculture contributes significantly to climate change in both positive and negative ways. However, agriculture offers a unique opportunity to draw up the carbon levels that are presently in the atmosphere. Could this be a key in combating climate change at all levels of growth and development?
 The Health and Human Rights Approach to Greenhouse Gas Pollution
Climate change adaptation policy in Africa is insufficient to tackle adverse affects of climate change impacts. Sluggish political systems; weak institutional capacity and framework; poor coordination and implementation of existing environmental legislations; absence of foresight in national development planning and climate resilience; international abandonment and unfavorable global settings to enhance Africa‘s capacity to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation continue to undermine continent‘s adaptation strategies. Existing policy is scattered, conflicting and incoherent rendering it insufficient to give the continent a survival chance under adverse climate change impacts. Consequently in a business as usual Africa; adverse effects of climate related disasters will far outweigh the capacity of any given country to recover. Puny implementation of climate change adaption and other environmental policies: Very few countries have specific climate change policy or legislations. NAPA implementation by LDC‘s is also slow owing to lack of sufficient political commitment. Institutional failure: absence of a regional institution for monitoring climate change adaptation policy developments or enforcement of environmental regulations, data collection, and dissemination for policy development and scientific communication. Information scarcity: Climate data exists in some countries; however, this information is not availed internationally, or incorporated into national/regional development planning or in disaster reduction strategies. Limited human resource to produce, analyze and interpret and disseminate climate data as a result of poor investment into scientific research on climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation; biodiversity and ecosystems; and weak governance and surveillance of natural resources especially forests weaken the region‘s capacity to adapt to climate change.
Access the entire report at:
Moving towards climate adaptation policy in Africa A CEI study Report 2015
          ​​IPCC AR5 WG2 Africa Executive Summary
  • African ecosystems are already being affected by climate change, and future impacts are expected to be substantial
  • Climate change will amplify existing stress on water availability in Africa (high confidence)​​
  • Climate change will interact with non-climate drivers and stressors to exacerbate vulnerability of agricultural systems 
  • Climate change is a multiplier of existing health vulnerabilities (high confidence), including insufficient access to safe water and improved sanitation, food insecurity, and limited access to health care
  • Of nine climate-related key regional risks identified for Africa, eight pose up to high risk even with highly adapted systems by 2.0C    (Above are all high confidence)​
Gleaning from the Report on The SED on The 2013–2015 Review UNFCC & Paris Implications


2014 was the hottest year since 1880s (World Metrological Organization). Subsequently global temperatures have rose since 1880s by 0.85°C. Oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010. There is an extremely likelihood that global temperatures will exceed 1.5°C by 2100 while RCP4 notes that warming is likely to exceed 2°C and continue rising by 2100. As heat waves increase in frequency and duration; anthropocentric climate change with multiple impacts that include ocean acidification are irreversible on a multi-century millennial timescale.
Read more here
WE Must Get it Right​
Common but differentiated responsibilities and abilities

An agreement that sanctions disappearance of Island nations; puts the most vulnerable at greater risk is unacceptable. Moral and social justice loudly speak against sanctioning these vulnerable states and populations to oblivion.

Stakes are high. Moving from acknowledging climate change as a threat to human security issue toward tangible sustainable solutions for the well-being of the planet, human life and ecosystems is taking place. New York SGD’s Summit and Paris Climate talks both take place in 2015. History is being made in a generation affecting trans generations to come.

‘‘Of nine climate-related key regional risks identified for Africa, eight pose medium or higher risk even with highly adapted systems, while only one key risk assessed can be potentially reduced with high adaptation to below a medium risk level, for the end of the 21st century under 2°C global mean temperature increase above pre-industrial levels (medium confidence).’’ (IPCC AR5).

IPCC Africa risk projections under climate change:
  • Land temperature in Africa will rise higher than global land average
  • Reduction in precipitation especially in North Africa and Southern Africa while Sub Sahara predictions remain uncertain.
  • Ecosystems range shift due to CO2 and warming while future shifts will be significantly high
  • Amplified water stress
  • Disruption of agriculture systems especially in semi-arid lands
  • Increased food insecurity
  • Increased risks to water vector and waterborne diseases
  • Adverse effects on livestock
  • Triggering migration
  • Climate change will also exacerbate/multiply existing threats to human security such as food insecurity, food, health, etc. 

The residual impact in a 2°C at the close of the 21st century suggests that even under high levels of adaptation there would be very high risks for the region.
  • Adaptation gap in Africa is huge. As indicated by various studies; the present institutional framework is insufficient to effectively coordinate the various adaptation initiatives being rolled out.
  •  The sociopolitical, environmental, economic and technology factors limit adaptation and resilience capacity in the region.
  •  IPCC identifies conservation agriculture as sustainable means to building adaptation and resilient capacity in agro ecosystems and livelihoods.
  •  Large data and research gap hinders informed decision making process to increase resilience, implementation of adaptation strategies and reduce vulnerability in light of climate change risks in Africa. Flow of scientific climate information from the source to national, county level to village levels or where county governments are responsible for policy formulation and development projects planning usually lack the necessary information tools on how to utilize climate change information in planning and implementation of such projects. Most of climate change information is left on paper and scarcely used expect by metrological departments where farmers are warned on little or increased rainfalls in certain seasons. Beyond this, climate information in rarely factored into county/national planning. 

INDC and Tangible Paris outcome

EU 2015 commitment to greenhouse gas cutting:

The European Union has committed to reducing CO2 emission by 20% by 2020 through increase of renewable energy by 20% and achieving energy efficiency of 20%. Medium goal of 2030 sees EU commit to reduction of CO2 by 40% compared to 1990; this will be achieved by use of 27% increase in renewable energy and 27% energy efficiency. The EU long-term is to achieve a 80-95% emissions reduction compared to 1990.  This INDC still insufficient in light of fairness, social justice and equity in emissions reductions for the EU, noting that further reductions by 2030 are a requisite for the EU INDC to be sufficient (Climate Action Tracker 2015).

Japan INDC 2015 falls way below the line to inadequate whereby the intended INDC can be achieved without any effort or shift from business as usual (Climate Acton Tracker 2015). Japan’s INDC aims to reduce emissions by 18% compared to 1990 levels or 26% below the 2013 levels. If all countries adopt this INDC then the planet is committed to 3-4°C warming in the century (CAT, 2015).

The USA INDC sets to cut emissions by: 26-28% below the 2005 levels by 2025; 17% by 2020 below the 2005 levels and; 80% or more deep wide economy emission reduction by 2050

*The USA pledges are not sufficient to limit warming below 2°C unless other countries outdo this target.



​​​​​​​Source: USA cover note INDC 2015

Read full report 

Source: NOAA (2015)
2015 Record breaking temperature anomalies

NOAA June 2015 shows record breaking global temperatures with significant rises in higher an normal warmer or cooler temperatures across different continents.

The report indicates most of the world's land areas experiencing higher than average warming, ‘‘that is falling within the top 10 percent of their historical temperature range for the January–June period,.’’ Africa is one of the regions whose warming is higher than the global average; Eurasia, South America, western North America had similar experience. Australia continent experienced higher than global average as well. ‘‘The oceans were also much warmer than average across vast expanses, with much of the northeastern and equatorial Pacific, large parts of the western North Atlantic, and the Barents Sea notably record warm. Over land, only northeastern Canada was much cooler than average during the first half of 2015, as was the North Atlantic Ocean to the south of Greenland, with a region of observed record cold.’’ (NOAA 2015). Read more
Who Pulls the Trigger at COP21 Paris Climate Change Agreement
Africa voice matter at Paris COP21 Agreement

Recently concluded OECD Summit reveals how international power gap influence outcomes between the needs of developing countries and the developed nations. Africa had high expectations that a deal ensuring tax compliance by multilateral corporations would be reached; African leaders sought to: creation of a UN body on international tax. However, only the rich nations position prevailed that aims to ‘enhance’ transparency and reduce tax evasion thus avoiding full commitment called upon by the African nations.
In previous COPs Africa had called for lower warming limit 0f 1.5°C together with other developing, Caribbean nations and small island nations; however, this position was not adopted as a 2°C limit was set as the target. Challenges like in-coherency and disharmony among the Africa group of negotiators notwithstanding, previous outcomes have least favored Africa.
At COP 15 Caribbean states and small island nations at Cancun COP 16 fought for a lower limit of 1.5°C; this was backed by several least developed countries- this constituted over 70% of the parties to the Convention. Scientists have also opposed a 2 degree warming target and what is ‘acceptable’ and ‘dangerous’ varies across regions. Joni Seager brings out how prism of power, geographic location and privileged often influence acceptability and dangerous.
Africa ministerial Conference- AMCEN submission to UNFCCC COP 21 calls for a limit of 1.5°C, reliable funding, technology transfer, limiting emissions to below 1.5°C.
‘‘Stressing Africa's vulnerability to the effects of climate change, in particular the adverse effects on ecosystems, food production, and social and economic development, Ministers agreed to support an agreement in 2015 that provides parity between mitigation and adaptation ? noting the increased burden for adaptation in developing countries. They indicated the agreement needs to ensure that the mitigation ambition keeps global temperatures well below 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels, by the end of the century.’’ (UNEP 2015).
Africa must become more than an onlooker in international climate change policy and agreements. Precedence set by subsequent international climate change negotiations and international politics show little influence of the Africa voice on international issues like climate change. Global power plays significant role in international pacts and outcomes particularly in regard to developed and developing nations. This mistake must not be repeated at COP 21 climate change talks in Paris.

With limited chances of Africa voice prevailing at Paris 2015; Africa can enhance chances of an outcome that favors the continent and all other developing countries and small Island nations on the COP21 outcome. The Paris Climate talks hold much promise not only for the Africa states and small island nations but for the marine, mountain, Arctic ecosystems and endemic species survival.

The Paris Climate agreement under COP21 of the UNFCCC is an pivotal for Africa survival and sustainable development. Realizing the theme ‘Our Common Future’ international power politics ought to show leadership in dealing with climate change in 21st century by robust greenhouse gas emissions cut considering the most vulnerable and most at risk. Climate change costs cuts across all generations, stratus, economies and ecosystems. Yet the most vulnerable are in developing countries, endemic ecosystems and species. For small island nations the 0.5°C warming under climate change could mean the line between survival and submergence under ocean rise. For countries with strong economic muscles, higher latitudes and strong adaptation networks the 0.5°C difference may not be a heavy burden to bear. Over half coral reefs might be lost with disproportional impacts across continents ranging from food and nutrition insecurity, loss of livelihood, poverty, to loss as aesthetic value and GDP.

The Paris COP 21 climate change summit ought to pave way for the voice of the poor and vulnerable in the spirit of social justice. Varying interests have hindered tangible climate change negotiation outcomes over the last Conference of parties under the UNFCCC. However, significant strides have been achieved thus far. Profit driven interest by multilateral corporations have often invisibly influenced international agreements and outcomes as these rich corporations often manipulate governments and international politics.
Climate change related deaths have increased in frequency and magnitude owing to occurrence of disasters like heat waves that have claimed roads, infrastructure and loss of human life in some continents. Economic activities disrupted, more than 2000 human deaths from heat waves calls for drastic action on climate change.
Parks and Roberts (2008) estimate that the richest 20 percent of the world’s population is responsible for up to 80 percent of historical emissions. Social justice requires than nations responsible for historical emissions carry greater burden in providing adaptation and mitigation costs for the developing nations who constitute most vulnerable and greatest victims of climate change related disasters. It’s not just food security, ecosystems, coastal cities and droughts/floods at risk of climate change threats; agro-economic production in Africa is at great risk from climate change as coffee production in East Africa highlands like Tanzania and Kenya dwindle with increasing temperatures. Economy-wide losses lowering GDP puts entire Africa economy at highest risk from climate change. Hence it’s not just a moral failure that climate change talks previously yielded results undesirable for Africa but it should be considered a matter of human rights violation.
Africa is predicted to experience higher than global average warming of 2°C; this would mean the continents experiences higher warming compared to other regions as a result of climate change. This has catastrophic impacts on the continent which is already struggling with effects of 0.85° warming. With low resilience and limited adaptation capacity the continent survival is threatened by climate change and a Paris 2015 agreement holds the promise of hope for the entire of Africa nations and island nations as well.
Atmosphere is a global common (UNEP). Climate change has no private cost. Greenhouse emissions transcends nations sovereignty and the impacts cut across the globe. Actions of a single huge carbon emitting nations has profound impacts on global climate change across the entire continent. Without global commitment of all nations cutting greenhouse gasses by some individual nations remain a zero game whereby emissions cuts are topped up by the other. Paris 2015 climate change agreement need to be clear and legally binding for the parties to the convention. Apart from INDC’s and robust measuring and reporting, international law and policy on greenhouse emissions need to be developed just like the law on hazardous transportation and waste management.
Stakes are high at Paris 2015 climate change negotiations. Developing nations hope for a legally binding agreement, financial commitment from developed nations on adaptation and mitigation, setting a new target of 1.5°C warming instead of the popular 2°C. international climate change policy has lagged behind in terms of responding and providing mechanisms to deal adequately with climate change. Same case on illegal wildlife trade and other international environmental matters have often been challenged by inadequate international policy measures.
Noting the responsibility of the international community on safeguarding the environment while ensuring sustainable development; taking heed to the scientific warning on climate change and inaction or delayed action Paris 2015 climate change agreement holds lots of hope for developing nations, small island nations, unique species and coral reefs ecosystems globally.


Conference theme‘Re-imagining Africa’s Food Security through Harnessing Ecosystem Based Adaptation Approaches Now and Into the Future under Climate Change’

Conference declaration:

Nairobi Action Agenda on EBA for Food Security notes that: EBA is critical for climate resilience, ecosystem productivity and food security, spurning growth and job creation; pointed the need for ecosystem restoration and investing in EBA. The declaration appreciated the role of states as main drivers for EBA scaling up through policies and incentives; and emphasized on the role of agriculture in employment creation and poverty reduction.

Africa Union plays important role in agriculture development and food security in Africa and UNEA June 2014 resolution on ecosystem based adaptation which tasked member states to mainstream EBA in development planning and decision making.

The conference led to formation of the Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assemble (EBAFOSA) for policy framework, ecosystem productivity, job creation and poverty reduction, value addition and sustainable industrial development. The Assembly will be funded by trust fund and hosted tentatively by ACTS. The conference further called on AMCEN to recognize establishment of EBAFOSA and outcome of the conference while it calls for UNEP, AU and AMCEN to recognize the Assembly as the leader for EBA policies and action in Africa.

The conference urged creation of technologically enabling environments for public investment and promotion of EBA driven agriculture. Resource mobilization and management to spur innovation financing and business models for EBA- driven agriculture. Called for scientific and evidence based policy studies for effective policy formulation and actions at local and regional levels.

The conference called for empowerment of youth, women and persons living with disabilities for innovation and value addition in agriculture growth.

Download the ​conference outcome documents on the link below:


Conference summary and Report: UNEP

​​CEI Conference Report
Africa coping strategies against climate change

​​​​​​​​​Source: Climate Resilient tool kit


Planning for climate change is a haunting task for Africa states. Climate change policy formulation and implementation in the region mainstreaming into economic development planning poses significant challenge for the Africa continents.
Indigenous knowledge as a buffer against climate change
Role of indigenous knowledge systems in Africa is helping rural communities cope with harsh extremes of climate change. FAO notes that combining scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge is important in developing countries which have lest developed modeling and prediction technologies. Indigenous adaptation measures in Africa have helped farmers plan their planting seasons, change the types of crops grown in each season in compliance with prevailing climate conditions and also enabled farmers to plant mixed crops so that failure of one crop does not lead to drought.
In Ghana local communities reuse water in period of water shortages. Water from laundry or utensils is then used to irrigate nurseries or home gardens (FAO).Barrels are used to harvest rain water from house roofs. Taboos such as specific days when it is forbidden to access the river so as not to anger river spirits plays role of river protection. Farmers have traditionally grown crops alongside trees which provide shade to crops, prevent soil erosion and rejuvenate soils. These are important ecosystems based adaptation strategies that farmers in Africa continent employ unconsciously against adverse effects of climate change. Ghana temperatures have increased by approximate 1°C (FAO ).
Communities in Africa, especially north Africa are repository of traditional knowledge which is valuable in contributing to efforts to address climate change. Water and food security feature prominently in Africa in relation to climate change.
Worth noting is the fact that as climate change impacts become widespread and intense; indigenous coping mechanisms have not been entirely successful in adapting to climate change. Hence such local communities have been stretched beyond their capacity. Receding Africa lakes such as Chad have left communities poverty stricken as they are robbed off their livelihoods. climate change has been attributed as the greatest cause of Lake Chad receding while factors such as upland irrigation and water consumption also play a role. These fishing communities shift from fishing as main source of income to farming; however, the huge population does not allow all of such individuals to gain from farming within these regions.
The Maasai community in Kenya grazing patterns were carefully regulated by observing natural events to predict seasons like drought or rains. Farmers in Kenya have also observed how plants flower, animal movement patterns, and wind directions to determine certain seasons. Such observations have been critical in helping farmers choose what crops to plant, when to plant or harvest. Dry spells could also be predicted using such methods. However, disruptions of such traditional systems as climate change takes toll is making it hard for such communities to predict rains. Consequently Kenya government observes increased drought frequency, intensity and duration.
Policy and legislation framework
Kenya climate change bill seeks to Steer the country toward low emissions path and increase adaptation to climate change. The bill provides robust legal and institutional framework that enhances response to climate change and strategic measures to achieve low emission climate resilient economy. This bill is also accompanied by National Climate Framework Policy (Draft) which spells development priorities and climate resilient pathways.
In building climate resilient economy and infrastructure Africa nations need to streamline climate change policies into development and national planning. Road constructions need to be designed in such ways that they can withstand high heat as global warming takes effect while at the same time have elaborate drainage systems for flooding seasons. Investments in hydropower are risks but such can be mitigated by factoring in changes in water volumes hence huge allowances but so if precipitation is reduced in such regions losses will be accrued.
Deforestation in Africa has taken toil on the ecosystems in the region. Coping with adverse impacts of climate change requires reforestation as well as increased agroforestry. Countries like Kenya have taken rapid measures to restore forest ecosystems while farmers in the Africa continent embrace agroforestry. Uganda has developed policies to stimulate reforestation to shield I country from adverse impacts of climate change like reduced and unpredictable rains as well as increased dry spells and drought.
In terms of energy production UNEP Executive Director in his Lima remarks noted the strides take by Africa states in renewable energy development such as geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind energy. Kenya’s 90% future planned power generation will come from renewable clean sources.
Kenya tea factories have relied on firewood in tea processing which consumes lots of trees. Some of the tea factories are shifting to cleaner and cheaper energy sources like biomass which makes use of wastes. As pointed by Thomson Reuters Foundation, Makomboni Tea Factory in Kenya uses briquettes from rice and cashew husks and macadamia which are mixed with sawdust to make the biomass.
Traditional cereals have drought resistant qualities, some of these cereals were abandoned in favor of modern cereals which are climate sensitive and have least resilience. Sorghum and millet is making a comeback in some parts of Africa; such crops can adapt to varied ecological conditions according to scientists who are calling for more research into this field.
Modern technology is also being used in the region on early detection of infectious diseases outbreak using mobile technology. Climate change in Africa has seen increased incidences of disease outbreaks related to water and Malaria incidences have also gone high.
Appropriate timely and accurate climate information services availed to farmers in Africa continent can help such small scale farmers in buffering against climate change by selecting appropriate seed for each season, engage in alternate livelihood for certain seasons, anticipate dry or wet periods, help in setting the planting/harvesting periods.