Climate ChangeEnvironment

Zimbabwe’s Climate Change Agenda and NDC Tagerts

By Tendai Guvamombe

Zimbabwe is among many countries of the world that have not been spurred from the devastating effects of climate disasters. Cyclone Idai of last year in Chimanimani, continuous dry spells, the recent flash floods in Hwange and Binga are all signals of unknown future catastrophes.

Indications are that farmers are already exposed to the recently felt dangers, threatening food insecurity at national level and thwarting any possibility to return the once might bread basket status in the continent.

This will subsequently have negative impacts on many sectors of the economy, thus aggravating the situation.

Zimbabwe’s climate realities at one point gripped the nation upon learning of dwindling water levels of Kariba Dam, leading to decline in power supply generation. Simultaneously, the worrying state also threatened status of national tourism.

Cable News Network (CNN) last year repeatedly broadcasted a climate change footage in Africa, referencing the Majestic Victoria Falls.

Globally, the visible effects are seen wrecking havoc in different parts of the globe. Smelting of Ice Islands, unpredictable weather patterns characterized by heavy rains and temperature rise, is now the case of the day.

“Science is sobering; the global temperature in 2012 was among the hottest since records began in 1880. Make no mistake: without concerted action, the very future of our planet is in peril,” said the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Largade in 2012.

Perturbed by the manner of these catastrophes, countries of the world consented to act towards a common cause, as they set aside political and economic differences.

The first port of call was a general conclusion on the effects of carbon emissions in the atmosphere leading to a temperature rise commonly known as global warming.

At the 18th Conference of Parties (COP20) in France 2015, an Assembly of 197 nations in total, Zimbabwe included, ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Coming at the back of United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signatories in Europe set the agenda in motion anchored on striking temperature decrease to at least 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.

The gravity of the treaty holds water. Parties to the agreement are working round the clock to save entire globe from perils, compelling member states to work on their climate actions traversing to a global temperature reduction. This also encompassed the need to accelerate actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

These climate pledges are commonly known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This generally becomes a country’s will in proving its climate obligations.

A follow up on Zimbabwe’s climate determinations, the contents enshrined in its NDC document anchors on reducing Green House Gases (GHG) to 33 degrees Celsius per capita below Business as Usual(BaU) Scenario by 2030.

A developing country that uses industrial emitting substances and coal to generate its main source of power is now faced with a dylemma on whether to abandon and adopt latest green technologies.

Meanwhile the developed world have already phased out the use of lithium batteries and indications are now pointing to a complete low carbon demand such as coal products.

In a bid to to achieve a low carbon Zimbabwe, the country came up with Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS), a document that already went through validation process will cascade to the implementation of local actions to champion green energy advancement.

In an interview with Nesbert Samu, Parliament of Zimbabwe Principal Director who was part of Zimbabwe’s delegation at Conference of Parties(COP25) in Madrid Spaian said the Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDs) will enhance climate change mitigation programmes.

“Our LEDs document successfully went through a validation process as we await its launch and this will go a long way in playing a key role in climate change mitigation programmes.”

The 38 mitigation actions enshrined in the LEDs document considers transforming the energy sector from traditional methods of power generation towards green technology inventions.

Among the possible actions overlook any need in transforming coal use with less carbon emissions, opting for additional hydro power generation such as the Batoka Gorge and the widely accepted renewable energy.

Early this year Zimbabwe launched the National Policy on Renewable and Biodiesel Energy. The policy framework enhances country’s capacity to harness green technologies by taking advantage of the existence of renewable sources of energy such as solar.

Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi reiterated that the Renewable and Biodiesel polices will help Zimbabwe attain its NDC targets.

“There is Integrated Resource Plan, sought to address issues of climate change around energy. With National Renewable and Biodiesel Polices Launch will help Zimbabwe attain its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) to achieve emissions reduction by 33 percent in 2030.”

However, Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole desperately came up with a financing strategy to help implement various climate related projects to achieve a low carbon economy.

This invited external funding in the context of NDC Partnership and this include UNDP, FAO , UN Environment, COMESA, IRENA(International Renewable Energy Agency), World Bank among others.

Lawrence Mashungu, Climate Change Expert with Ministry of Environment, Climate , Tourism and Hospitality reiterated on the importance of climate financing for Zimbabwe’s situation, multiple adaptation and mitigation programmes which largely depend on NDC Partnership.

“The current NDC Partnership is assisting the Government of Zimbabwe to update the current NDC to make its econony wide. The support from the NDC Partnership will see Zimbabwe’s NDC expanding beyond the energy sector to include industry, waste, agriculture, forest and waste sectors. This will be in line with the Low Emission Development Strategy and other key documents like the Renewable Energy Policy.”

Climate surges and unprecedented scenarios now requires overhaul shift towards establishment of green initiatives with which technology will be prime in championing a low carbon economy.

Tendai Guvamombe