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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

July 15, 2016  Zimbabwe: #WageTheft
    "An astounding 80,000 Zimbabwe workers in formal employment--out of some 350,000 workers--did not receive wages and benefits on time in 2014, according to a new Solidarity Center report, 'Working Without Pay: Wage Theft in Zimbabwe,' released today in Harare." - Solidarity Center

July 15, 2016  Zimbabwe: #ThisFlag
    "The Zimbabwean regime did not expect Pastor Evan Mawarire to be set free on Wednesday night. But unprecedented public pressure forced the magistrate's hand, with a little help from blundering police. Look away now, Comrade Bob, because Zimbabwe will never be the same again." - Daily Maverick, July 14, 2016

July 6, 2016  Cuba/Sierra Leone: Reclaiming Slave-Trade History
    As recognition grows that the legacy of slavery and the slave trade is still embedded in the structural inequalities of today's world, scholars are finding new ways to make the lost connections visible. One dramatic and inspiring illustration, featured in this issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin, is the film "They Are We," showing the rediscovery and re-connection in person with their African relatives of an Afro-Cuban community which still celebrates their heritage with dances and songs in a language almost forgotten by current generations even in its villages of origin in Sierra Leone. The film, first released in Cuba in 2013, features the story of this rediscovery, in the voices and faces of the communities who collaborated in the making of the film.

June 30, 2016  Africa/Global: Air Pollution Threats & Solutions
    "Around 6.5 million deaths are attributed each year to poor air quality, making this the world’s fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. Without changes to the way that the world produces and uses energy, the ruinous toll from air pollution on human life is set to rise. ... Household air pollution, closely linked to a lack of access to modern energy services, causes around half a million premature deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa, where four-fifths of the population rely on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking, and candles and kerosene lamps are extensively used for indoor lighting." - International Energy Agency (IEA)

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

June 22, 2016  
    Africa/Global: "Stop the Bleeding" Updates
June 13, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Don't Be a Fossil Fool
Jun   2, 2016  
    Liberia/Global: Financial Secrecy at Work
May 26, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Migrants' Rights Roundup
May 13, 2016  
    Mozambique: Debt Crisis & the Panama Papers
May   5, 2016  
    Uganda: Accountability and Child Soldiers
April 27, 2016  
    Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 2
April 27, 2016  
    Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 1
April 11, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Panama Papers Tip of Iceberg
Apr   5, 2016  
    USA/Global: When Elephants Fight
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

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Africa News
Jul 24, 2016
AllAfrica | Conflict, Peace and Security
South Sudan: Opposition Replaces Missing Leader Machar
Somalia: Blast Targets Peacekeepers
South Sudan: Former Rebel Gets Ultimatum to Return From Exile
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