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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

April 27, 2016  Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 2
    "It has been two years since the world's deadliest terrorist organization – Boko Haram – abducted 271 girls from their high school in the town of Chibok – a tragedy that would shine much needed international attention on conflict in northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, the Chibok girls are only one part of a much larger story of violence against women and girls in the northeast. ... the needs of all those whom the Chibok girls symbolize – thousands upon thousands who have suffered gender-based violence at Boko Haram's hands – are being unaddressed." - Refugees International

April 27, 2016  Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 1
    The realities of violence, whether in Nigeria, other African countries, or indeed in rich countries such as the United States as well, are often far more complicated than the stereotypes that often prevail among those observing them from a distance. Thus, violence in Nigeria is often simplistically characterized as "religious conflict" between Muslims and Christians. A new collection of empirical studies released this year by Nigeria Watch, based in Ibadan, Nigeria, provides a more complex perspective, documenting, for instance, that intra-Muslim conflict is more common that conflicts between Muslims and Christians, and that much of the conflict involving both Muslims and Christians is based on secular rather than religious motives.

April 11, 2016  Africa/Global: Panama Papers Tip of Iceberg
    "In other words, the leaks reveal just how the planet's wealthiest and most powerful citizens hide their money - trillions of it - in offshore tax shelters like the British Virgin Islands or the Seychelles with the help of law firms in swampy backwaters like Panama. Over 11-million horribly incriminating documents, and this is just one - if one of the more prominent - of the many law firms specialising in this line of work." - Daily Maverick, South Africa

Apr 5, 2016  USA/Global: When Elephants Fight
    "Watching the Trump phenomenon from outside the United States is a strange spectacle. I am often asked to explain by puzzled observers how such a bombastic, obnoxious, moronic, misogynistic, chauvinistic, racist, and hustler businessman with a record of serial bankruptcies could ever be a serious candidate. ... Trump articulates and represents with frightening clarity the Republican underbelly that same establishment has nurtured for generations, the party's enduring values—the incurable racism, bigotry, and intolerance, the reflexive jingoism, nativism, and imperial aggression. In Trump, therefore, the chickens of age-old white supremacy and modern neo-conservatism are coming home to roost." - Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

March 23, 2016  
    Namibia: Meeting Expectations?
March 16, 2016  
    Africa: Tolerance and Intolerance in Perspective
March 9, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Making Choices on Climate Future
February 29, 2016  
    USA/Africa: Rising Opposition to Tax Evasion
February 16, 2016  
    Africa: Ghosts at the African Union Summit
February 1, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Accounting Tricks with Coca-Cola
January 25, 2016  
    Africa: Charting the Digital Gender Gap
January 19, 2016  
    Africa: Stealth Assault on African Seeds
December 10, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Beyond the Paris Climate Talks
December 1, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Changing "the Media"
November 19, 2015  
    Africa: Boosting ICTs
November 11, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Follow the Money
November 5, 2015  
    Europe/Africa: Dialogue Unlikely at Migration Summit
October 28, 2015  
    South Sudan: Hard-Hitting Report from African Union
October 20, 2015  
    Africa: Tax Tricks, Mobile Phones, and Beer
October 13, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Health Challenges & Threats

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Apr 30, 2016
AllAfrica | Conflict, Peace and Security
Africa: UN Spotlights History and Power of Jazz in Building Peace
Nigeria: Tension As Soldiers Kill Pregnant Woman in Warri
Cote d'Ivoire: France to Boost Military Presence
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