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Masisi speaks in favour of imports car regulation

Publishing Date : 18 December, 2018

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

President Mokgweetsi Masisi was among the attendees at the 24th Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP24) held in Katowice Poland last week, where the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change under the Paris Agreement work programme (PAWP) were finalised.


As the world engages on this serious conversation, to gather ideas and formulate policies and mitigation measures on how to collectively combat the globe’s greatest threat ever in centuries, Botswana has also joined the bandwagon. Botswana as a landlocked semi-arid country has been underscored as one of the African countries particularly in the Southern African region that could be adversely impacted by the catastrophic effects of this increasingly concerning pandemic.


World leaders amongst them Heads of States, researchers and key decision makers gathered at this high-level meeting to come up with practical measures against increasing global warming and depletion of ozone layer amongst others. President Masisi was accompanied by senior government officials. The largest human influence of global warming and undesirable climate change has been noted to emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.


 Botswana which is not yet an intensively industrial country, emissions are said to be by in large linked to Singapore and Japanese import vehicles which have been coming into Botswana in large number over the recent years. When addressing a press conference upon his arrival from Poland last Thursday, Masisi shared that his government would in the near future regulate the entry of the popular import cars.


He explained that government is currently in consultation with environmental experts, researchers and all stakeholders to assess the impacts of import car emissions into Botswana skies and its contribution to climate change. He said in turn “legislation would be put in place if deemed necessary to regulate with a view to contain and reduce the number these used imports entering Botswana Boarders.”


Still last week in Poland experts warned  that global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius  and higher will mean even greater warming and damaging impacts for climate change ‘hotspots’ in the Southern Africa region underscoring Botswana and Namibia. The two countries are constantly noted as highly vulnerable to climate stresses with observers suggesting it was key for authorities in these respective countries to appreciate how surpassing the 1.5 degrees Celsius global limit will play out at the local level.


 “For these hot, dry and water-stressed countries, local warming and drying will be greater than the global average. So, even a 1.5°C increase in global temperature will have severe local impacts, ushering in intensified and longer droughts and many more heat waves. Ironically, when rain does fall, it is expected to be much heavier, increasing the risk of heavy flooding within an overall drying climate,” said a renowned International Researchers Mark New and Brendon Bosworth in their recent report.


These researchers noted that with the prospect of worsening droughts, floods and other weather extremes on the horizon, the sooner southern African countries can prepare and implement adaptation strategies the better. Changes in rainfall are also projected to shift. At 1.5°C of global warming, experts say Botswana would receive 5 percent less annual rainfall, and Namibia 4 percent less. At 2.0°C global warming, annual rainfall in Botswana would drop by 9 percent, with annual rainfall in Namibia dropping by 7 percent.


Various analysts and commentators note that the impacts of higher global and local temperatures will be felt in various sectors key to the prosperity of people and economies in Botswana and Namibia. “Understanding when different levels of warming will occur, and what these mean for threats to vulnerable sectors like agriculture, health and water, is crucial for adaptation planning and thinking about what must be done, and by when,” says Brendon Bosworth an Environmentalist at the University of Cape Town.


In a hotter, drier future there will be less domestic water available. Runoff in Botswana’s Limpopo catchment is projected to decline by 26 percent at 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming, and by 36 percent at 2.0 degree Celsius. Agriculture is particularly vulnerable, with potential drops in crop yields and increased livestock losses. In Botswana, at 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming maize yields could drop by over 20 percent.


At 2.0 degrees Celsius warming, yields could slump by 35 percent. Rain-fed agriculture is already marginal across much of the country, and anticipated climate change may well make current agricultural practices unviable at 1.5 a degrees Celsius and above. “It is clearly evident that the greatest threat to economic prosperity and humankind as a whole is the adverse effect of climate change. It is, therefore, highly prudent that we are awakened to create a new era of global green growth. The time is now and not tomorrow,” said University of Botswana Vice Chancellor Professor Norris recently at a climate change workshop.


It has been underscored that Botswana urgently needs policies to facilitate climate change adaptation to protect the its tourist attraction sites amongst other the Okavango Delta, the country's most lucrative tourist. Tourism is Botswana’s second foreign income earner and contributor to GDP employing directly and indirectly over 25 000 people. The Okavango Delta which received UNESCO tag about 2 years ago is one of the country’s major tourist attraction landscapes with aesthetic sceneries watershed ecologies and breath-taking experience of leisure and relaxation.


Wame Hambira, from the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana warned in the International Journal for Tourism Policy that that unless government policies take account of current and forecasted climate shifts, the tourism sector could be badly damaged, with serious implications for the wider economy.


"The declining precipitation and increasing temperatures have implications for the amount of inflow into the delta," she said adding that reduced inflow could result in swamps drying out and forests being replaced by grasslands, as a result, local animal species would either become extinct or move away, with catastrophic implications for tourism.

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