Demography global warming and economic impact of climate change


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Demography global warming and economic impact of climate change

  1. 1. Demography, Global Warming and Economic Impact of Climate Change BT CostantinosThese days, Addis Ababans and especially those returningfrom the Diaspora are increasingly worried at the ‘smogdd’ (acombination of smoke, fog, dirt and dust from newconstruction sites) that that hangs over Addis. It is a threat tothe health of the unborn, the young and the old all the same.The health costs or even human costs where the health costsdo not matter are indeed staggering in the long term. Simplysaid Addis Ababa has failed to limit emissions from factories,diesel cars (what happened to good old catalytic converters)and trucks and the trucks carrying soil from constructionsites and waste dumps are irresponsibly sowing the seeds ofnext generation epidemics.On the world scale, global warming, accelerated by increasesin the levels of greenhouse gases increasing in theatmosphere due to human activities, is changing thecomposition of the atmosphere. It is indeed the mostimportant environmental challenge in the world today. Someof the adverse effects of global warming, predicted byscientists and politicians (AL Gore’s Inconvenient Truth)begin to occur throughout the world, including: growingincidence of droughts, floods; rising temperatures of oceansand sea levels; increase extreme weather events such astornadoes and hurricanes; the melting of mountain glaciersand the reduction of snow cover; dying coral reefs, andcoastal erosion, and loss of coastal ecosystems. Indeed global warming is happening. Indubitably, population growth and climate change are critically linked. Population is a major factor in the extent of warming and will very much determine the effects on the livelihoods of that population. Greater human numbers may limit the ways societies can respond or adapt to a rise in sea level, changes in precipitation patterns, and other products of warming. If we take into account CO2 emissions from deforestation and methane emissions from rice fieldsand waste sumps when trying to estimatehow much each country has contributed toglobal warming, we find that developingcountries have contributed more thanpreviously thought.On the other hand, Africa’s demographicchallenges augur on poverty that has madeus chronically dependent on internationalcharity and heavily reliant on primaryproduction that is vulnerable to extremefluctuations in weather. The population hastripled in four decades and it is continuing togrow fast - presenting an interdisciplinarychallenge; where environmental impactstudies shows that even using the "achievableoptimum" models with all interventions, no improvement can be observed in the population supportingcapacity of communities. The population policies of nations in Africa describe the rationale for population
  2. 2. programmes, and prescribes organisational mechanisms in the government for implementation;containing (as strategies) a mixture of programme interventions, new laws, studies and recommendations.Nevertheless, this has yet to show the results. What went wrong? Structural and policy impediments todevelop and implement strategic land use plans and environmental policies that focus on social, politicaland bureaucratic hindrances to manage effective environment and population policies addressinguncertainty (lack of information, knowledge and predictability of courses of events) and complexity(systems components, differentiation and interdependence).The economic costs are all too obvious. BBC reports that “Europes leading insurance companies are nowso worried by global warming, they are likely to use their financial muscle to get governments and theworlds oil companies to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A greenhouse gas conference organisedby the reinsurer, Swiss Re, has been discussing a report backed by nearly 300 financial institutions, whichargued that global warming now poses a "serious threat" to the world economy. The insurers have beendrawing on the findings of the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which concluded we canno longer be in any doubt that humans do effect the weather. The result, say the insurers, is that in thenext decade, the annual cost of global warming will hit $150bn a year - thats five times the annualearnings of the entire population of Nigeria”. Oxfam has developed a global warming adaptation financing index based on the responsibility, equity and capability of each nation. Accordingly “The U.S. is responsible for 44% of the annual $50 billion needed to fight global warming said aid agency Oxfam as expectations mount that the United States will reject stiff targets and timetables for reducing carbon dioxide emissions; ahead of the G8 meeting in Germany to discuss climate change”. What is to be done? Mainstreaming demographic and environmental concerns in stemming global warming will augur on developing a working knowledge on environmental development. Analyses of and managing rationalpolicies that have demographic impacts and the requisite social, cultural, political, spiritual and humancapital and corporate social responsibility are required. The themes underpin a critique of the currentpolices affecting demographic dynamics and proposal for reform and strategic tools of implementation:options, scenarios and modalities for priming policy and strategic instruments for sustainable livelihoods.While the recent climate change jamboree held in Bali, Indonesia, has borne little fruit, policy dialogue onthis timely and apposite issue will legitimately enhance the leadership capacity to effect change instemming the tide of human demise; however constrained by politico-economic doctrine and ideologicalleanings. After all, world leaders are expected to develop the capacity, through their statements andactions, to shape debate, dialogue and morality, to determine what is environmentally and sociallyacceptable, culturally sound and politically uplifting. Indeed, leadership is a calling and policy leadershiprequires intimate knowledge of public policy analysis, formulation, management and strategic plans andimplementing them. This is especially important in African nations when the policy imperatives involvetrying to change attitudes and behaviour of a national psyche; only informed by violent conflicts and theresultant human insecurity.