Global environmental challenges
from Davos Notebook:
It may have contributed less than any other continent to CO2 emissions, but Africa is on the front line when it comes to the impact of climate change.
Just ask Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
"It is a threat for us," he told a panel at the World Economic Forum. "On Kilimanjaro the snow is fast disappearing, sea levels are rising -- we have one island that has already been submerged -- and we've towns around the coast where we have to incur huge costs of adaptation to erect walls."
In theory, Africa is also in a strong position, given its virgin forests that represent one of the world's great carbon sinks. But setting up workable offset-trading schemes is easier said than done. "I can assure you, it is so difficult to access these facilities," Kikwete said.
Reuters photo: A truck passes Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania's Hie district
When he wrote “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” in the 1930s, Ernest Hemingway described the summit of that African mountain as “wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun.”
It’s still wide, but may not be white much longer, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that says the remaining ice fields atop Kilimanjaro in Tanzania could be gone in 20 years or less, a casualty of climate change. Changes in clouds and precipitation play a minor role but the scientists say it’s mostly due to global warming.