To justify their fears of the worst for Africa, environmentalists point to gullies of eroded, barren earth scarring the shoreline of Lake Victoria, which borders Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Rising sea temperatures are also among the threats to Africa’s lush east coast, the main survival line of poor coastal communities who depend solely on fisheries and tourism.
Morgan sums up the effects: ‘’On the whole, the results have been loss of lives, destruction of property, injury and hardship inflicted on humanity, underscoring the fact that global warming is both a reality and a phenomenon that begs for collective action.’’
It is against this backdrop that stakeholders continue to evolve strategies to contend with the challenges of how to mitigate the effects of global warming.
Expectedly, more attention has been on such vulnerable areas as Africa, already scarred by deforestation, poor soil health and drought.
The strategies are contained in some protocols and conventions among which are the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols, targeted at reducing the emission of carbon dioxide globally.
The Kyoto Protocol, for instance, aims at curbing the air pollution blamed for global warming, requiring countries to cut the emission of carbon dioxide and other green house gases.
Kyoto, which became legally binding on February 16, 2005, demands a 5.2 per cent cut in gas emissions from the industrialised world by 2012.
But observers say that the protocols have in most cases failed to achieve set emission targets because the countries adopted a laid back approach to meeting set objectives.
In particular, countries, notably the worst polluters, have continued to place their economies above the commitments to the protocols, thereby jeopardising their realisation, much to the chagrin of most developing countries and environmentalists.
But for many environmental experts, the new initiative tagged ‘’Plant a billion trees,’’ launched at the 12th Conference of Parties to the Kyoto
Protocol in Nairobi in 2006, seems to hold the key to checking devastation by global warming.
The campaign, fashioned after the works of a Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai, and sponsored by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hopes to realise the target of planting one billion trees by the end of 2007.
Maathai said that the vital importance of voluntary collective action in the fight against climate change was being undertaken with the launch of the campaign which, she noted, was an action the world must take today to preserve the climate for future generations.
She said that the target of 2007 was achievable if one billion people out of the world’s estimated population of six billion ‘’dig a hole, put a tree in it and water it.’’