BRITISH High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley says political will is key in addressing impacts of climate change.
Speaking during the official launch of the Climate Change summit in Lusaka, Tuesday, Woolley said climate change was a threat to lives and economies.
“More needs to be done. If we keep on the current track, global temperatures are likely to rise more than 2.7 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. Climate change at this level represents a potentially catastrophic threat to lives, economies, and natural environment upon which humanity relies. The future of our children and grandchildren is at stake,” he said.
“During the first few days of COP26, world leaders have shared their ambitions for the summit and their pledges to tackle climate change. Political will and ambition is essential to drive momentum for a global green revolution and ensure that not one is left behind.”
He said impacts of climate change in developing countries including Zambia were devastating.
“While we come together here tonight, over the world, leaders are in Glasgow at the world leaders’ summit to set an ambition for the UN COP26 Climate Change Summit, including His Excellency President Hichilema. This summit has been described as the last best chance we have to avert catastrophic climate change and secure the health, prosperity, and green growth of our economies and societies,” he said.
“Climate Change is not just an environmental problem, but also a developmental, economic, and business sustainability problem with global, national, and individual implications. Developing countries resilient on rain fed agriculture are least able to cope, and Zambia falls squarely in that category.”
He warned that the weather events experienced in Zambia in 2019 were a warning for the future if action was not taken immediately.
“In fact, the impacts of climate change are already being experienced in Zambia. Two years ago, this was in Shangombo and Sioma. I witnessed there the devastation caused by drought. 98 percent of harvests failed and communities were facing acute hunger. Just a few weeks later, huge floods destroyed lives and livelihoods in the north of the country. These extreme weather events in 2019 are a warning for the future,” he said.
“However, if action is taken now, we can limit global temperature rise to under 1.5 degrees, achieve global net zero by mid-century, and change the course of our planet’s future. Fortunately, we have many of the tools for this global green revolution already. Zambia is already demonstrating the potential of renewable clean energy from water and the sun. Climate smart agriculture are practices can help farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change and have been shown to increase and protect yields – even in drought years.”
He said the UK, as president of COP26, remained committed to helping Zambia transition to a greener economy.
“The UK is committed to supporting Zambia in the transition to a greener and more prosperous economy. The UK government is supporting local enterprises that provide renewable energy solutions and help avoid deforestation through Prospero, our private sector development partner. We are also supporting the government to develop a 30-year integrated Resource Plan to diversify Zambia’s renewable energy mix and expand access to clean energy to generate jobs and improve standard of living,” said Woolley
“And as president of COP26, the UK will work to ensure industrialized developed countries, who did most to cause climate change, support developing countries like Zambia to mitigate, adapt and respond to its effects. COP26 will not be the end of climate change but it can and must mark the beginning of the end.”