UNZA lecturer Dr Mulenga Kabwe says the climate change currently being experienced in Zambia should not be blamed for putting the country in the dire situation, explaining that the effects are only partial.
And Dr Kabwe says not every drought or flood should be blamed on climate change because such occurrences are normal.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Dr Kabwe argued that the climate change currently being experienced in the country should not put Zambia in the dire situation.
He also said that even with low rainfall received, government could have planned for the impacts of climate change.
“Now, what has been the problem is the distribution of the rainfall. Some areas that used to have less rainfall are now experiencing a bit more, and some areas that had a lot more are now experiencing less. So, generally, the amount of rainfall has not changed so much, but we still experience droughts and floods and these are things we should expect. So, yes, we have been experiencing climate change, but some of it should not actually put us in a dire situation because we still receive mostly on average similar amounts of rains. And this is where now the planning comes in,” Dr Kabwe said.
He stressed that not every drought or flood should be blamed on climate change because such occurrences were normal.
“Those two have been confused time and again. It’s not every drought that can be blamed on climate change, and it’s not every flood that should be blamed on climate change because these are normal. According to the authorities in the subject, what we are experiencing are effects of climate change. [But] now, you have to understand that most parts of Africa, this is a bit controversial because if you are going to measure the rainfall situation that we have been receiving, for example in Zambia, the total rainfall has not changed so much [but] the temperatures, however, have been increasing and there is no doubt about that,” he said.
He said permanent climate change had to occur for a period of at least 30 years.
“Definitely, climate change is an issue for Zambia [just] as it an issue for the entire earth. Ideally, because of what we have been emitting into the environment, there is what we call greenhouse gasses that we emit because of the technology that we get to be involved in. And these emissions into the environment turn to lead to the global temperatures, and the increase in the global temperature have a lot of effects on every sector of the economy. Because of these changes in temperature, we see droughts as is common in Zambia, we see floods in some parts. Climate change is the change of weather from what you have known to something else,” Dr Kabwe explained.
“Now, this change has to occur for a period of 30 years or more. So, we are actually talking about a permanent change [and] not a case of this year where the rains reduced, next year the rains increase, no. That kind of change is what we call climate variability. It’s a normal thing and it’s a day-to-day change because there are no two days that are going to experience the same rainfall or the same weather. When we talk about climate change, we are talking about a permanent shift in the rainfall you have been receiving, and a permanent shift in the temperatures you have been experiencing.”
And asked to weigh how much impact climate change had on Zambia, Dr Kabwe, who is also a member of the National Technical Committee for Climate Change, said even with low rainfall received, government could have planned for the impacts of climate change better.
“We are heavily affected, yes, but it’s something we can plan for. For example, there is a lot of talk about water in the Zambezi River being low as a result of climate change. It’s very true [because] we didn’t receive a lot of rainfall this time and so it affected the water levels in the Zambezi. But strictly speaking, even with low rainfall we received, we could have planned for this,” said Dr Kabwe.