Overview of Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Fund Ep 01

BHC Windhoek Digitorial Article – Climate Change, COP26 and UK in Namibia

Climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world. Since the mid-1800s, humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. This causes global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes to the climate. As of 2018, the 20 warmest years on record globally have been in the past 22 years.

Human activity is the main driver of climate change as the world releases greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil, cuts down trees without replanting them and acidifies the oceans (amongst others). These actions have a range of impacts on the climate system, ecosystems, and people.

Namibia is already a dry country and rising global temperatures will affect Namibia in several ways. Increased global temperatures are expected to cause an increase in average temperatures, more heatwaves, less annual rainfall as well as an increase in the frequency of days exceeding 35 degrees. Namibia is also expected to have an increase in climate related disasters already occurring in the form of droughts and floods.

There are concerns of higher evaporation rates, slower groundwater recharge rates and more surface runoff. Namibia’s vulnerability to food insecurity is also very evident with approx. 48% of rural households dependent on subsistence agriculture, lower productivity for crops and livestock 

The UK continues to support Namibia, adapt and build resilience to climate change. One example is through the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Facility (CRIDF), which seeks to construct a 50Ha irrigation scheme powered by a solar array within the Mayana Community in Kavango East. This is in partnership with the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) and the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development (MITSME). This project will support local farmers to grow crops and produce more sustainably as rain and temperature patterns change.

The most crucial step to limit climate change is to make big and rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. There are many different challenges that must be solved but what is key is that governments, businesses, organisations and individuals around the world can all contribute.

COP stands for “Conference of the Parties” and it is the United Nations summit on climate change and how countries are planning to tackle it. COP refers to the decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in November 2021, the UK will be hosting the 26th annual session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, or “COP26”, in Glasgow.

At the summit, delegates including heads of state, climate experts and negotiators will come together to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. As well as the negotiations, there will also be space for countries, international organisations and other delegates to showcase climate action, highlight diverse climate change issues and share knowledge.

COP26 comes during the a key period where countries are expected to reassess their goals to addressing climate change against the overall temperature goal of – ‘holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels’.