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Title: Politics of climate change: why should Africa mitigate?
Authors: Madzivhandila, Thanyani Selby.
Niyimbanira, ‪Ferdinand.
School of Development Studies
School of Development Studies
Keywords: Climate change.;Politics.;Mitigation.;Adaptation.;Economic development.;Africa.
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Social Sciences Research Society
Abstract: In pursuit for sustainable economic growth, developed countries have constantly rejected proposals to reduce gas emissions from their economic dependent industries. For those countries who accepted or seem willing to mitigate, progress has been somewhat snail paced. On the other hand, developing countries have also raised concerns for the need to accelerate economic development of their societies faced with high rate of poverty, unemployment and many other social ills. Furthermore, because of weak infrastructural and socio-economic base, developing countries argue that they are already faced and forced to deal with the burden of responding and adapting to somewhat visible impacts, consequences and aftermaths of climate change related events and disasters. The complexities surrounding this reasoning, has hampered progress towards successful climate change mitigation. For developing countries, particularly those in Africa, the challenge is to comprehend the notion that putting efforts to control human induced climate change may impact and limit socio-economic transformation of the society. Even though these countries experience direct impact of climate change induced heat waves, floods and drought which are forcing them to inevitably improvise adaptation strategies. On the other hand, developed countries have continued emitting according to unchanged patterns of their unfettered consumerism and production while imposing limitations on developing countries’ access to environmental resources and pushing them to adopt mitigation processes. The paper argues that the responsibility to curb gas emission and ultimately mitigate climate change should be vested to developed countries, whose economies are dependent on industrialisation, which is a worse emitter of gasses thought to be causing climate change. Developing countries should be given space to develop their economies and accelerate socio-economic change without any limitation and derailing tactics towards climate change mitigation. Furthermore, the latter need to be given support to activate strategies and practical activities to respond and adapt to the consequences of climate change. The paper concludes that acceleration of economic growth and ultimately economic development in Africa will not only have positive effects on people’s wellbeing but will contribute positively to the efforts towards current climate change adaptation needs and those that will emerge in the future.
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