Last week Wednesday for about an hour and half, I suddenly found myself participating in an unplanned all African Twitter conference on Climate Change. Unplanned because I only got to know about it when a series of tweets started appearing with the hash tag
#ClimateWednesday announcing the beginning of deliberations.
It turned out to be a regular weekly event on Wednesdays at 5pm local time, and the focus of the week’s discussion was the new Climate Change Bill in Nigeria. The number of participants was impressive and their profiles suggest they hail from all over the continent. The depth of concern and knowledge was really encouraging.
Beyond passionately expressing opinions on the contents of the bill, and concerns regarding the practical implications, participants rightly cited recent floods and other environmental disasters as direct consequences of climate change.
In conclusion, one participant called for action by tweeting
This is obviously a fair point to make. However, I believe that spreading the message about the issue and the consequences is vital. Getting African governments to ensure that at least adequate adaptation measures are in place.
Even though it is generally accepted that the industrialized nations are mostly responsible for climate change, the consequences are likely to be mostly borne by poorer countries that lack the capabilities to adapt. It is therefore imperative that whatever Bills that are passed focus on adaptation measures and resilience.
This is meant in no way to belittle mitigation measures such as renewable energy and afforestation. In the case of renewables, the amount of all year round sunshine should make Solar PV a no-brainer. This is especially so as, in our context, it also addresses other issues such as rural electrification and energy independence. A kind of killing many birds (sorry birds!) with one stone.
Raising awareness is a very good place to start. We need to keep up the pressure as a reminder for everybody to act starting with the politicians! Meanwhile, I understand that this Wednesday the interactive discussion continues: