Tag Archive | climate change

Capturing Africa, by Africans

I thought this was a great first start by two African photographers based in Ghana (Nyani Quarmyne and Nii Obodai) trying to portray Africans, and climate change in Africa, as they are rarely portrayed: through the eyes of Africans.

I say “great start” not because the photos aren’t beautiful or interesting–they definitely are, especially the second, of an amazingly well-framed young boy standing among the remaining walls of his house near the sea–but because I think that there is still more that could be done to get away from portraying the stereotypes and conventional stories, as well as portraying more diverse facets of the effects of climate change.

Also came upon this photo on Quarmyne’s website:

As Obodai said,

“I can see that there’s a mentality of confusion at play, but it’s not a poor place. Africans are not poor people. We might be making wrong choices, but we’re not poor people. I refuse to play that poverty game. That’s a choice we’re making.”

Looking forward to seeing more work from both of these two that validates Obodai’s conclusion.

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During work today, I came across this bit about a climate change education and outreach approach by the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS)–definitely the most playful, interesting, and [hopefully] effective tool I’ve seen so far by an African organization working in the agriculture/climate change space. Although I wonder to what extent Nollywood reaches beyond West Africa…

Putting Global Investment into Perspective

It’s all about your outlook.

There are two main views on the amount of investment needed to adequately mitigate climate change: either it’s a reasonable [small] amount… or it isn’t.

McKinsey’s 2012 report on resource requirements claims that about $2 trillion is needed to adequately improve energy efficiency, resource use, and climate change impacts.

They also wisely point out:

“Today, governments are subsidizing the consumption of resources by up to $1.1 trillion. Many countries commit 5% or more of their GDP to energy subsidies.”

They acknowledge that changing our behaviors to account for climate change is expensive but very realistic, given that we would have to spend most of this amount anyway for harder-to-extract oil, more expensive land, scarcer water, etc.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC, part of the World Bank Group), in contrast, says:

“Mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries will require considerable investments—estimated by the World Bank’s 2010 World Development Report to be as much as $4.6 trillion to keep global average temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.”

A friend working at WRI (the World Resources Institute) told me yesterday that solar power is already financially sustainable (read: pays for itself) in Hawaii, and will likely get there soon in California and Texas. But this is never publicized; instead, there are tons of debates about how these “green energy” investments are not feasible and too expensive in a time of deficit. It’s a shame that much of Washington still doesn’t realize that their arguments of needing national energy sovereignty are completely aligned with smarter energy sources.

Japan and other countries way better than the US at CC mitigation

Today was my first day as an intern at the World Bank! (And I already have a deliverable due by the end of the week, such is life…) At any rate, as I was researching individual nations’ stances toward including agriculture in climate change (CC) negotiations, I found a presentation given by Japan in 2009 on everything they plan to do in order to decrease agricultural GHG emissions. The authors mention many creative (if not new) approaches, including:

  • utilizing manure for energy source by carbonization/methane fermentation facilities
  • cycling biomass resources (composting)
  • expanding the use of rice straw as feed, rather than burning it
  • prolonged mid-season drainage of rice fields
  • reduced fertilizer inputs
  • installing monitoring systems to measure soil carbon
  • reducing emissions (somehow…) from greenhouse horticulture & agricultural machineries

There’s also a great quote from an IPCC report (AR4, which has since been cited everywhere else) that speaks to much of what climate-smart agriculture tries to propone:

“About 89 per cent of technical mitigation potential of agriculture can be achieved by soil carbon sequestration.”