WINDHOEK: Local scientists and decision-makers should start acting on research materials available to minimise the impacts of climate change.
Delegates attending a three-day workshop titled ‘Climate risk capacity building in southern Africa’ on Wednesday said there is enough local research material to address and act on climate change issues in Namibia, but a better understanding of the natural phenomenon is needed.
The workshop is organised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa.
“We just need to support the efforts made, and understand more about the effects of climate change and not to concentrate only on one prediction,” suggested Gert Cloete of the City of Windhoek.
Reference was made specifically to the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN), who compiled several research materials on climate change issues.
A representative from a local farmers’ union, Oloff Munjanu, said a review of the impact of climate change on agriculture, water and mining sector is needed.
He advised that farming models as well as development models, amongst others, should be reviewed to build resilience to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Delegates also called on government to ‘climate-proof’ infrastructure like roads and bridges in flood-prone areas.
Local Authorities should also create awareness amongst residents, and encourage citizens to make use of environmentally-friendly products, and save water as well as energy, and plant more trees in their communities.
Participants also felt that more funds and grants should be made available to address climate change issues for community groups wanting to tackle climate change by reducing their carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, course presenter Emma Archer from CSIR explained that warming of the earth’s climate is occurring more rapidly than any previous climate changes that earth experienced.
Climate change is considered one of the most serious threats to Namibia’s environment, human health and well-being as well as its economic development.
The arid environment, recurrent drought and desertification have contributed to make Namibia one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. Considering the natural resource-based economy and limited technical and financial resources, climate change could potentially become one of the most significant and costly issues that affect the national development process in Namibia.
“This global warming has a clear man-made component,” she stressed.
According to Archer, the climate is changing at the pace of the worst-case predictions 10 years ago – record high temperatures; severe drought conditions devasting millions of acres of crop and grazing lands; and acres burned by wildfire have increased significantly over the last decade.
The course is funded and endorsed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the CSIR, Kulima Integrated Development Solutions and the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town.