Climate Change: The Unfortunate Semi-Permanence of The Weakest and Least Guilty’s Misery

Photo by Ross Stone on Unsplash

Climate Change, I bet may not make the top 3, 5 or even 7 topics of the day-to- day kitchen table talk in some homes.

Yes, for many, Climate Change may not be “cool”, “sexy” or a “that makes sense” fun stuff.

However, every person on the planet — all 7.9 billion of us — have no immovable “Tent” or hillside fortified abode to hide when nature’s fury flexes its muscles.

Since the 1880s, scientists have been measuring the temperature of the air.

New report by the world’s top climate scientists predicts 1.5°C Global rise limit will be breached by 2040.

On January 14, 2021, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2020 was the second hottest year on record for our planet, just behind 2016, displacing 2019 to third hottest. Scientists at NASA and from Copernicus Europe’s eyes on Earth have 2020 and 2016 in a tie as the warmest year on record.

We had only a sliver of relief from the heat wave in 2021. NOAA scientists report that 2021 was world’s 6th-warmest year on record.

Let’s recall the California fires of 2020 when about 10,000 fires scourged more than 4.2 million acres of forest and killed 33 people.

On the other extreme was the punishing Texas freeze of February 2021. Unprecedented ice storms crashing trees onto power lines, freezing wind turbines which are sources of heat and light and freezing pipelines that supply natural gas to power plants.

The pain of the affected populations caused by these extreme climate events is heartbreaking.

Thankfully, in this part of the world, i.e., USA, and other regions of the Northern hemisphere experiencing the harmful effects of climate change, there are institutions and trained personnel to assuage the suffering of the people.

Not so in the Southern hemisphere. Especially, in African countries and several other small developing nations like the Republic of Palau, a tropical archipelago in the Western Pacific, southeast of the Philippines.

In a clarion call to hold polluting countries accountable, the President of Palau, Mr. Surangel S. Whipps Jr. spoke of the need for the “Rich Countries to Take Responsibility for Climate Change”.

President Whipps states: “My country, Palau, has been ravaged by the climate crisis, suffering two major typhoons that resulted in a loss of more than half of our national GDP”. He continues: “These once seasonal occurrences now exacerbate our existing health, environment and economic crises. ……The injustice is that the largest emitters are not held accountable for our plight”.

Climate Change, Farmine and Starvation In Developing Nations

In an analysis of the impact of climate change on Africa’s Economies, Charles A. Ray, Chair of the Africa Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe states:

“The data tells a chilling story that should make everyone — including the leaders of the major polluting nations and donor countries, as well as the leaders of African nations — commit to implementing policies, allocating resources, and taking the necessary actions to address the situation. Increased temperatures cause deadly heat waves. Varying rainfall leads to flooding in some areas and droughts in others, both of which reduce agricultural production, increase food insecurity and food prices, and cause dislocation of poverty-stricken rural populations to already overcrowded urban areas that are ill-equipped to accept them, or to other nations, including those outside Africa, that are wrestling with their own climate-related problems”.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says 400,000 people in southern Madagascar are in danger of starvation because of droughts.

Lola Castro, United Nations WFP’s regional director in southern Africa says in 28 years working for WFP on four continents, she had “never seen anything this bad” except in 1998 in Bahr el-Gazal in what is now South Sudan.

“Madagascar is the only country that isn’t in conflict but still has people facing “Famine-Humanitarian Catastrophe”, Castro said.

As reported by Esther Castillejo in the article, S. Madagascar on the verge of climate change-induced famine:

“Madagascar has produced 0.01 percent of the world’s annual carbon emissions in the last eight decades, but it is suffering some of the worst effects”.

In November, 2021, USA’s ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir and his team traveled to Madagascar to report on the dire situation in the country.

After the World Food Program Raised $1.8 Million Following David Muir’s report on Madagascar’s Climate Change Famine, the Anchor told TVNewser:

“We are truly grateful to our viewers for going on the journey with us. We saw the desperation in the faces of the children. What we witnessed was truly catastrophic, and let’s hope this is just one step in getting them the help they so desperately need.”

According to the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP,

“While Africa has contributed negligibly to the changing climate, with just about two to three percent of global emissions, it stands out disproportionately as the most vulnerable region in the world. This vulnerability is driven by the prevailing low levels of socioeconomic growth in the continent. While climate change is global, the poor are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects”.

Yet Another Reminder For Africa To Fasten Its Seatbelt

According to Africa CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention), COVID-19 vaccination statistics in Africa as of February 3, 2022 is:

Partially Vaccinated (16.37% of population)

Vaccination Completed (11.30% of population)

Booster Dose (0.67% of population)

The low fatality rate in Africa from the COVID-19 pandemic has perplexed health experts and officials who, in March 2020, feared that the pandemic would sweep across Africa and kill millions.

The catastrophic scenario has not played out in the continent despite its fragile healthcare systems.

No one is really sure why Africa has been spared the morbidities and mortalities from COVID-19. Several factors have been suggested including the continent’s young population, average age 20 years versus e.g., 42 years in Europe and past infections with parasitic diseases especially malaria.

Unfortunately, nature does not bestow on humans, such protection and immunity against the deleterious consequences of climate change.

The Conference of the Parties, COP27 climate summit will take place this year in Africa in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

This will be the continent’s chance to genuinely prioritize the needs of its vulnerable populations. African leaders must face the reality of poor infrastructure, weak research and healthcare systems in their nations and lead the charge to address these deficits from within.

African climate protesters at COP26 in Glasgow, UK. Credit: James Wan.

“Record global greenhouse gas emissions are putting the world on a path toward unacceptable warming, with serious implications for development prospects in Africa”, says Dan Shepard in his piece: Global warming: severe consequences for Africa.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warns of a code red for humanity. The 2021 report predicts 1.5°C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature rise limit will be breached by 2040.

Hopefully, leaders of the most polluting nations and the most vulnerable nations would take these warnings to heart, act boldly and sincerely with their eyes set on the ecosystem of future generations.

So, what can individuals do to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change?

Start a climate conversation.

Get out and vote during elections for candidates who are genuinely concerned about climate change.

Use energy wisely at all locations.

Join renewable energy co-ops in your community

If possible, take public transit.

Ride a bike or advocate for bike lanes in your community.

We are living in a changed — climate-wise, for the worse — and changing planet. We must all act now !!!



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Sylvanus A AYENI, M.D.

Sylvanus A AYENI, M.D.

Neurosurgeon. Founder, Pan Africa Children Advocacy Watch(PACAW Inc) Author: RESCUE THYSELF: Change In Sub-Saharan Africa Must Come From Within