The never ending global campaign on global warming and the recent article by my well respected colleague Wisdom Mdzungairi in NewsDay of January 12, 2015 questioning whether President Robert Mugabe and Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere were reluctant warriors in trying to reduce human effects on climate change have awakened me from my literary hibernation and slumber just to pose the question – Is global warming a farce or reality?
Guest Columnist Stephen Kasere
Being what he is – a journalist, I think Mdzungairi is right to try and bring to book Zimbabwe’s highest office and Kasukuwere to account for their actions in mitigating anthropogenic (human induced) greenhouse gases which the world blames for the much-talked about global warming.
As we all know, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Climate Change Convention – a multilateral legal instrument that binds member countries to cut down mostly on their carbon dioxide emissions, which together with many other human activities and natural forces, are blamed for causing climate change.
In compliance, Zimbabwe has a plethora of environmental laws and legislations many of which are only impressive on paper but a complete far cry in terms of implementation and enforcement. It must also be understood that rich countries and multilateral organisations also provide a fund to help poor countries to implement key environmental projects in Zimbabwe.
But far from being a government apologist or critic for administrative incompetence and failure, I want to express my most profound disagreement with the global think tanks on the co-relationship between global warming and human induced activities. My contention is that the whole furore about global warming and its association with a host of all natural ills befalling the world might be an international farce and conspiracy bordering on criminality and manipulation of scientific data by a well-orchestrated environmental movement headquartered in the West.
For the benefit of those who have absolutely no idea of what I am talking about, environmentalism or the living green movement, has become very big business in developed countries where some people have organised themselves into powerful lobby groups and NGOs to push for policies aimed at saving the environment. these organizations, which some dub the Green Rich Environmental NGOs (Grengos), identify all sorts of environmental problems at national and international level on which they justify door-to-door mobilisation of financial resources for their huge salaries and also transfer to the largely white-led NGOs planted in developing countries.
But while nobody in his sane mind will deny that environmental objectives are noble and good for us and oour planet, the tragedy of it all is that many of the policies advocated by these noisy, self-proclaimed friends of the earth tend to be more political than scientific. Environmental problems raised are often sensationalized and exaggerated so much that many would be forced to pump out donations on fears that the world is about to come to an end.
I can cite many examples such as Cites in which the history and figures of elephant population are fraudulently exaggerated, making it look like the world of elephants is collapsing, yet they are fully aware of the crisis of population explosion of elephants in Southern Africa where people are even considering designing condoms for the creatures to reduce their numbers to manageable levels.
The story behind efforts of Sadc in trying to correct the elephant situation is well documented. The Grengos in trying to stop our programs and voice of reason went to the extent of excoriating hunting clients for thriving Sadc.
Thus in a nutshell, the most manifest fear about global warming was on rising sea levels and their spill over and corrosive effect on human infrastructure and livelihood especially for those who had chosen to invest on seas shores
We all know that natural disasters have occurred throughout the history of earth’s life, long before many appeared. The disasters have continued throughout man’s history even before man could invent anything that pollutes the atmosphere. Studies of many volcanic rocks worldwide suggest that volcanoes, earthquakes and many others have occurred in the past long before the time of man.
It is therefore quite unfortunate that debates concerning the effects of greenhouse gases onto the atmosphere have been riddled with so much emotion that many credible scientists would rather shut up for fear of provoking the wrath of misinformed but militant demonstrators in developed countries paranoid more of their personal safety and infrastructure.
There also exists middle of the road skeptics who do not necessarily question the logic of global warming as a problem, but believe that the impacts are grossly exaggerated. These skeptics argue that the extreme weather events we are witnessing probably have causes other than global warming. They argue that present climate variations attributed to modern industrialization are no longer greater than those that have occurred from time to time during the past millennium and more.
For instance, the increase and severity of hurricanes in the Eastern US have been a regular natural cycle just as has also occurred in cycles in Africa. Period of the cold “Ice Ages” and mini ice ages have been occurring as a matter of course. The most recent mini-ice ages were from 13th to the 19th centuries, when the river Thames in London froze.
It must also be acknowledged that climatologists have for a long time been engaged in studies of weather patterns and climate changes. Using both primitive and modern technology, climatologists have been able to amass data about past climatic trends, including outbreaks of droughts and floods, heat waves and blizzards among other notable weather symptoms.
I truly doubt the genuineness of the scientific grounds that link so-called climate changes to human activities. Environmental catastrophes are not new and certainly not restricted to the industrial era of our modern society. While in theory pollution may have such effects, the time and process by which greenhouse gases take to change the complexion of climates in different parts of the world is not clearly spelt out.
Stephen Kasere is former Director of Campfire. In the past decade he lectured post-graduate course in International Law at the University of Zimbabwe and Environmental Interpretation at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).