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Talking Points on Climate Change and the Environment

Watch eloquent short video by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"The destruction of the earth’s environment
is the human rights challenge of our time."

  • Global warming and environmental damage from the fossil-fuel industry already affect all of us, although responsibility lies primarily with the rich industrialized countries and the newly industrializing powers. Africa is the most vulnerable continent, but extreme weather and sea-level rise have hit New Orleans and New Jersey as well as Lagos.

  • When industries make decisions based on short-term profits, encouraged by government subsidies to established industries, they systematically discount damages from "externalities." Visible results include the devastation of oil-producing areas in the Niger Delta and of coal-producing areas, whether in South Africa or West Virginia. The longer-term consequences in rising temperatures and more extreme weather will be even more devastating.

  • Action to combat climate change depends in part on decisions made in international conferences, where the primary obstacles to action are the rich countries and the newly industrializing powers. But efforts at many other levels are also of decisive importance. Fossil-fuel divestment campaigns, as they grow and multiply, can affect investment choices. So can technological innovation. Notably, clean energy can already be more cost-effective than large-scale fossil fuel plants in supplying distributed energy access to Africa.

Workers install off-grid solar panels in Kirambo, Rwanda.

Recent bulletins on climate change and the environment

AfricaFocus Bulletin

November 19, 2015  Africa: Boosting ICTs
    The "AfricaRising" narrative can be a misleading stereotype, celebrating economic and technical progress without taking into account the enormous failures to deliver the fruits equitably to the majority of Africa's people. But one area in which some boosterism may be appropriate is the rapid advance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the continent.

November 11, 2015  Africa/Global: Follow the Money
    "New research from the Tax Justice Network shows that the gap between where companies pay tax and where they really do their business is huge ... even developed countries with state-of-the-art tax legislation and well-equipped tax authorities cannot stop multinationals dodging their tax without a thorough reform of the global tax system. ... [these practices have] a relatively greater impact on developing countries, whose public revenues are more dependent on the taxation of large businesses."

November 5, 2015  Europe/Africa: Dialogue Unlikely at Migration Summit
    "There is no dialogue. What we are seeing from the EU is a monologue that seeks only to impose its own agenda," a high-ranking African Union official said anonymously in an interview with the Afronline newsletter. While there are strong critiques of the European position from both African and European civil society, his prediction is unlikely to be proved false when heads of state gather in Valetta, Malta next week.

October 28, 2015  South Sudan: Hard-Hitting Report from African Union
    "Based on its inquiry, the Commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that acts of murder, rape and sexual violence, torture and other inhumane acts of comparable gravity, outrages upon personal dignity, targeting of civilian objects and protected property, as well as other abuses, have been committed by both sides to the conflict."

More on: politics&human rights|peace&security|health|economy|ict

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

October 20, 2015  
    Africa: Tax Tricks, Mobile Phones, and Beer
October 13, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Health Challenges & Threats
October 6, 2015  
    South Africa/Global: Piketty says "Tax the Rich"
September 30, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Climate Action Beyond Paris
September 21, 2015  
    Africa: Internet Usage Rising Rapidly
September 14, 2015  
    West Africa: Tax Giveaway Follies
September 8, 2015  
    Mozambique/Africa: "The Eloquent Peasant"
August 3, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Climate Change Roundup
July 29, 2015  
    USA/Africa: Obama Visit Roundup
July 21, 2015  
    Africa/Global: "Stop The Bleeding"
July 14, 2015  
    Burundi: Diplomacy Falling Short
July 6, 2015  
    Africa/Global: People's Test on Climate
June 30, 2015  
    South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 2
June 30, 2015  
    South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 1
June 22, 2015  
    Africa: AIDS Struggle Continues
June 15, 2015  
    Eritrea: "Rule of Fear, Not Law"

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Africa News
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