By Pretty Chavango.

Harare. (News Of The South) – Africa is one continent which is more likely to be hard hit by effects of climate change due to its considerably limited adaptive capacity, geographical position exacerbated by widespread poverty and the existing low levels of development.

A source report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that by 2020, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.

Climate change is defined as changes in the earth’s weather, including changes in temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gases, especially carbon dioxide.

A number of countries in Africa already face semi-arid conditions that make agriculture challenging, and climate change will be likely to reduce the length of growing season as well as force large regions of marginal agriculture out of production.

Human health is also at risk as it is already compromised by a range of factors and could be further negatively impacted by climate change and climate variability. Southern Africa and the East African highlands for example are exposed to Malaria. According to World Health Organization (WHO) between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

“Malaria is strongly influenced by climate. Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria kills almost 600 000 people every year – mainly African children under 5 years old. The Aedes mosquito vector of dengue is also highly sensitive to climate conditions, and studies suggest that climate change is likely to continue to increase exposure to dengue.” Reports WHO.

Zimbabwe has not been spared by climatic changes as evident in Kariba dam’s water levels dropping to a record low due to a series of successive droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. Effects have been felt in both Zimbabwe and Zambia which has also experienced poor rainfall.

With the 2015/16 farming season upon us, low yields are expected due to poor rains predicted. Principal director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanizations and Irrigation Development Mr Joseph Gondo spoke on how effects of climate change were now being felt in the country ,“2015 has been a classic example of how climate change is affecting the rainfall patterns in the country. We experienced a delayed onset of the rain, there has been a shift in the season and at the same time the seasons have become shorter and the total amount of rainfall received during the course of the year has become reduced. We have now more extreme weather events, floods and droughts and those are the challenges associated with climate change,” said Mr Gondo.

Young people in Africa have been tasked to come together and deliberate ways to curb climate change which is accelerating at alarming rates .This has led to the hosting of the first ever conference of its kind where young people will deliberate on how to tackle climate change . Zimbabwe is set to host this conference in four days time in the resort town of Victoria falls from the 26th to the 28th of October.

Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA) is spearheading this conference and its President Mr Fischer Chiyanike has said all is set for the indaba which is set to host more than 200 delegates.

“Young people should participate fully in mitigation and adaption of Climate change which is clearly no longer taking the world taking its natural course “ he said.

This Indaba comes after calls by the African Union during the 23rd AU summit of head of states in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea which tasked the setting up of a youth programme of the Committee of African Heads of States and Government of Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on engagement on issues of climate change.

Zimbabwe is also set to host the fifth Conference on Climate Change and Development (CCDA) in Africa in the same town where young people after finishing their AfriYOCC conference will be given an opportunity to present their position paper on climate change.

With many discussions at national and continental levels , countries will also be given a opportunity to discuss the impact of climate change at a global level at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) which will take place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

Solutions to curbing climate change have been cited as curbing carbon emissions, reforestation, replacing dirty fossil fuel energy with renewable energy and energy efficiency like bio fuel and solar energy, desisting from water pollution among others.

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