HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsPlant trees,West won’t stop damaging environment

Plant trees,West won’t stop damaging environment

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It has been a week of intense negotiations here in Durban with parties failing to reach a common ground on how to reduce the effects of climate change.

Representatives of governments have been meeting last week at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol in the sunny and humid city of Durban, South Africa.

As parties and activists converged in Durban hopes were high that we would witness a turning point to the ever-increasing disasters across the globe, especially in Africa. But on the contrary, as Wisdom Mdzungairi wrote last week, the Kyoto agreement seems to be headed for crash landing.

The writing was on the wall long before the Durban conference. Canada, one of the well-known progressive countries on climate change issues, has adopted a new stance.

Reports suggest that they will be withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol before the end of the year, something which activists here see as a breach of trust by attending the COP 17 in bad faith.

Reports suggest that Canada has recently found pleasure in the taste of tar sands oil production.

And for that reason, they are dumping the Kyoto agreement siding with the big polluters who butter their bread. If they succeed, they would be joining their big brother, the US, whose global political muscle is deeply rooted in the oil industry.

It is believed that those who own the oil industry are scuttling all new inventions by buying all patents of hydro and electrical energy, giving them the power to control both the problem and the solution.

To someone in Chikwarakwara, Rushinga, Mutorashanga, Binga, Tsholotsho, Gokwe and other places across Zimbabwe this may sound vague, remote and irrelevant.

But when you compare the weather patterns twenty years ago and now, you will realise that harvests have gone down, rains are erratic, droughts are common, and the rain season has shifted from October to late November and in some seasons in December.

You will also learn that we are experiencing more extreme weather patterns from floods to droughts, recent heatwaves to extremely low temperatures. And this is not political or breach of traditional practices, but change of climate.

And perhaps if you were wondering why this is happening, it is because the West — yes, the US, Canada and Europe, including our Chinese friends — are polluting the environment by emitting carbon into the sky and damaging the ozone layer the effects of which alter the weather patterns.

In short, the weather patterns we experience here today are because of what of happens the other side of the globe and for that reason they are not willing to budge.

The studies of historical data show that the recent El Niño variation is most likely linked to global warming, a result of carbon emissions. This results in droughts or floods and developing countries dependent upon agriculture are the most affected.

If you think this damage to the environment makes you angry, then wait a minute. The US, Canada and China, the biggest polluters, are not only refusing to cut their carbon emissions, but are suggesting that Africa must grow more trees to absorb the carbon and mitigate the impact of climate change.

In simpler language, as long as they are not at risk, they do not care about the effects of their actions on other countries — as long as they maintain their political power, feed their industry with oil and keep their voters happy in the immediate term.

I harbour no qualms with planting more trees, but let’s look at it this way. As I stated before, the harsh weather conditions experienced this side of the world are not out of our own making, but due to events on the other side of the globe, the same way our climate-friendly practice will benefit more those of the other side of the world than ourselves.

In practical terms it is like a tomatoes farmer on the west side of the village whose plants are affected by charcoal carbon from a tomato processor on the east, but they can not complain as the processor is the only buyer of their tomatoes. The tomato processor becomes a relevant enemy despite the damage to the farmer’s environment.

To demonstrate the polluters’ seriousness on this fallacious solution, they have shifted from carbon emission reduction to drumming up climate adaption. Simply put, the developing countries and their poor people must silently and stoically adapt to the new weather changes, as carbon emission reduction is not and will not be part of their agenda. They are suggesting, without committing, to provide cash to curb deforestation.

To any African leader worth his or her salt this approach does not only undermine the African race, but is extremely provocative, especially given that most of the raw materials for which they use their oil come from Africa.

For as long as Africa pretends the East or the West have their interests at heart, then Africa and its people will not only suffer, but will be extinct as these actions are tantamount to a gradual genocide.

Watch Somalia and the Horn of Africa today, it is a typical story of genocide through human-induced climate change — drought — where the West is showing its fallacious leniency by sending in food aid as if they care.

Perhaps it is time the African Union and other regional bodies such as Sadc developed policies that compel the highest polluters to comply with Kyoto protocols before they exploit our resources. Yes, it is possible.

If you deal with the US, you would be forced to comply with anti-terrorism laws, even if the only terrorist you know is an American soldier in Iraq.

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