We all probably know that climate change is a naturally occurring reality. Naturally, it should take hundreds and thousands of years to occur giving biological and human systems time to adapt to the change.
However, that is no longer our reality. The new reality is that 95% of human activities have exacerbated climate change and now we have only “yesterday” to adapt to these changes. The question therefore is, can humanity cope?
Here are some quick estimates for the year 2050:
- The world population will have hit 9.6billion
- Food security will have hit an all-time low
- Ocean acidity, which has already exceeded its historic bounds of PH measurements, will be immeasurable
- A lot of ocean life will perhaps be a memory
Furthermore, the mean annual climate will slip into the most extreme conditions ever experienced. And a lot of human life will perhaps be a memory too. The world will be a whole new environment and we could be at its mercy.
The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a set of mock television “weather reports from the future”, an example above, to show how climate change could drastically affect life on Earth in 2050. The three reports show how climate change would make Europe a frying pan, bring massive flooding to Southeast Asia and cause dangerous weather fluctuations in South America. In Japan alone, 6,500 weather-related deaths were predicted in 2050.
In Australia, change is likely to come earlier than the global average, with Sydney to see unprecedented change by 2038. Brisbane and Perth follow in 2042, and Melbourne and Canberra in 2045.
Near future projections in Asia show China, Pakistan and Turkey, the region’s major producers of wheat and maize, as most affected by the droughts. Asia has the world’s largest population and food producers.
Also not forgetting, the Tropics, which contain the planet’s richest diversity of species as well as the poorest countries, of which Uganda “the Banana Republic” included, will be among the first to see the climate exceed its historical limits as early as 2020.
With many tropical nations being major food suppliers (including fish) to global markets, the global economy is bound to be disrupted even before historic climate changes take on industrialized countries.
The onset of global crop failures around the world in the 2020s will affect the global economy and consequently destabilize the geopolitical system.
Uganda climate outlook
In the meantime, countries like Uganda with meager financing will suffer every weather change that befalls them. Uganda’s Parliamentary Forum for Climate Change (PFCC) says it lacks financing to mitigate these effects in time. Even though it acknowledges that climate change is the economy’s number one threat, PFCC’s position is that it will start to integrate climate change guidelines in the 2015/2016 budget.
The irony, however, is that there has been a downward spiral in the budget allocation for climate change since 2013/2014 seeing as only 13billion Uganda Shillings ($4.2million) was allocated to this sector from the previous 71.8billion Uganda Shillings ($23.31million) in 2011/2012. In fact those budget allocations have declined to 8.39 billion Uganda Shillings ($2.72million) in 2014/15 and even more cuts expected in 2015/2016 to 6.84billion Uganda Shillings ($2.22million).
The floods in western Uganda, landslides and floods in the East, droughts in the eastern and northern end have been predicted to get even more intense. However in Uganda, the government is accustomed to only acting after the disaster has occurred.
Now that we know as a matter of fact that Uganda is going to experience record-breaking floods, record-breaking droughts, record-breaking landslides, and so on, here’s what the government could do to avoid this:
- Implement mitigation efforts that will buy Ugandans the time they need to cope with these changes.”
- Practically engage locals in activities combating climate change effects like reforestation.
- Students from Aterai Primary school being encouraged and taught how to plant trees to combat climate change effects in Kumi, Uganda. Picture courtesy of Green Teso Initiative
- Create adaptation mechanisms for the locals
- Work with the international community to curb this impending global catastrophe
It is sound to conclude that we are in a state of climatic change emergency and commensurate mitigation and adaptation must be taken. Policy makers therefore need to focus on climate change as “a now thing” and not “a future thing” because its impacts have already started changing our environment.