Saturday, 8 August 2015

Zambia Starts Preparing Its Proposals For Paris Climate Change Talks

By Paul Shalala
A flooded maize field in Zambia

Zambia has started preparing its position paper for the 21st United Nations Climate Change Summit to be held in the French capital Paris in December this year.
At the talks which are abbreviated as COP 21, Zambia is expected to present its recommendations for adoption into the final legally binding climate change deal.

So far, Zambia has held four inter-provincial workshops for climate change and environment experts to consolidate its position over climate change.

The workshops which were attended by technocrats from various government ministries and agencies, produced the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

This INDC will be the guiding document which Zambia will present to the United Nations Climate Change talks.

The Zambian proposals in the INDC are aimed at reducing the amount of harmful gases in the atmosphere as a way of fighting climate change.

Chief Environmental Management Officer in the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Richard Lungu told the workshop in Kitwe a week ago that this year's climate change talks were an opportunity for countries to present real proposals for climate action.

"All previous climate talks had proposals from scientists on how to reduce harmful gasses in the air. But this year's talks will focus on individual countries' proposals which is good'" said Mr Lungu.

And Lands Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga urged the technocrats to put the interests of the 13 million Zambians first.
Barnaby Mulenga

"As you sit to come up with the INDC, ensure you look at the plight of the 13 million Zambians. Also look at issues of adaptation and mitigation so that the people who suffer most from climate chanage can find relief," said Mr Mulenga.

Meanwhile, environmental activist Lovemore Muma has called on more scientific research to help government formulate a good INDC.

"We call upon government to embark on a scientific research which will help the country come up with a scientifically-backed INDC. This will help us put our point across in Paris," said Mr Muma in an interview in Kitwe.

In the recent months, Zambia has been experiencing massive loadshedding.

According to the country's power utility firm Zesco, the loadshedding is as a result of the reduction of water in the Kariba Dam which is the major producer of electricity to Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe.

This reduction in water is blamed on a drought which is also another form of climate change.

According to figures from the United Nations, emissions of green house gases has risen by 40 percent from the year 1992.

This has heightened calls for a new binding document that will help stop temperatures from rising beyond the two percent Celsius which many scientists say may be catastrophic.

Over the past decade, the world has been trying to come up with a legally binding climate change deal since the expiry of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which unfortunately was shunned by big polluters like China and the USA.

In recent Climate Change talks, disagreements between the industrialised and least developed countries have made this process a pipe dream.

Therefore, the 21st Climate Change talks in the French capital Paris will present another opportunity for the world to save itself from unforeseen environmental consequences like a rise in temperature, reducing in rainfall and increase in floods

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