Gambia prepares its way to Paris ahead of global climate deal

Pa Ousman Jarju-environment-minister

Pa Ousman Jarju-environment-minister

In December this year, world leader will descend in Paris, France to discuss means aimed at averting the much talked-about climate change that is threatening the end of man’s planet earth.

The Paris climate agreement which will come into effect in 2020 is expected to empower all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.

On September 28, The Gambia has already sent its new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of a new universal climate change agreement expected to be reached at the much-expected UN climate conference.

The Gambian officials said despite the country’s lower emission rate of 0.01%, it stands ready to fulfill its commitments towards tackling climate change while urging powerful countries to equally fulfill their part of the bargain.

“The Republic of The Gambia includes two unconditional mitigation options in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC): Firstly, the use of renewable energy sources in lighting, communication and health facilities, and for lifting water from wells and boreholes. Secondly, the Department of Forestry and local communities will continue to plant and care for trees annually. The implementation of renewable energy sources will contribute to greenhouse gas emission reductions of 45.6 GgCO2e in 2020, 78.5 GgCO2e in 2025 and 104 GgCO2e in 2030 whilst afforestation will contribute reductions of 220.3 GgCO2e in 2020, 275.4 GgCO2e in 2025 and 330.5 GgCO2e in 2030…,” the document informed.

“Under the Agriculture sector, two conditional mitigation options (NERICA Rice production and Rice efficiency) have been assessed and reported on in this INDC. For production of NERICA upland production in place of Swamp Rice, estimated emission reductions are 124.1 GgCO2e in 2020, 397.7 GgCO2e in 2025 and 2030. For the promotion of efficiency in rice production, estimated emission reductions are 437.8 GgCO2e in 2020, 707.0 GgCO2e in 2025 and 2030…The energy supply mix mainly consists of traditional biomass and petroleum products, with biomass accounting for the vast majority. Petroleum products play an important role in the country’s energy supply since it is the main source of fuel for transport and electricity generation, notwithstanding its negative environment consequences. In 2010, Total Energy Supply (TES) in The Gambia was 407,926 tons of oil equivalents (toe) according to UNIDO figures… Five conditional mitigation options have been identified and analyzed under the Energy Sector. Combined emissions reductions are 425.7 GgCO2e in 2020, 541.1 GgCO2e in 2025 and 629.6 GgCO2e in 2030… Of the total CO2 (437.575 Gg) emitted from the Energy Sector in 2010 the Transport sub-sector accounted for 46% (MoE/TNC, 2015). Only one conditional mitigation option was analyzed under the Transport Sector… Deployment of energy efficient vehicles will produce greenhouse gas emission reductions of 40.8 GgCO2e in 2020, 114.5 GgCO2e in 2025 and 193.3 GgCO2e in 2030.”

The Gambia has made a case to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that a lack of global comprehensive climate deal will severely hurt various sectors of the country’s agrarian economy.

The Gambia has made this argument in its new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of a new universal climate change agreement expected to be reached in Paris.

“The Gambia has always shown a progressive standpoint and commendable leadership in the climate change negotiations, as the implications of the current level of mitigation ambition is particularly low and likely to pose tremendous challenges for countries like Gambia. Agriculture, Energy, Water Resources, which are vital sectors for the Gambian economy will severely suffer if global and deep cut do not occur in a near future,” the document argued.

“For this reason, The Gambia took the leadership and joined the call in 2011 for a universal mobilization of efforts to tackle climate change allowing that global actions protect the future of the most vulnerable countries. By presenting this INDC, the Gambia would like to provide a moral voice for all responsible and capable countries to undertake actions that are proportionate for their responsibilities and capabilities not only for themselves, but for the whole global community.”

The document also argued that “it seems rather unfair to ask a country like The Gambia to contribute to the global emission reduction efforts, which implies that resources to be allocated to poverty reduction and development priorities will be arbitrated to take into account the requirements of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres is encouraging countries to come forward with their INDCs as soon as they are able, underlining their commitment and support towards this successful outcome in Paris.

The World Bank said in 2012 that the current municipal solid waste generation in The Gambia amounts to approximately 438 tons a day forecasting that the figure could reach 1,295 tons a day in 2025 and The Gambia authorities have also included in the document their plans to effectively manage waste in the country in a way that is friendly to the environment.

China and United States, the world’s biggest polluters have also made their commitment ahead of the talks.

China promised it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65% from 2005 levels under a plan submitted to the United Nations ahead of crucial climate change talks in Paris later this year.

The pledge has been eagerly awaited as the country is the world’s largest carbon emitter.

China said it would increase the share of non-fossil fuels as part of its primary energy consumption to about 20% by 2030, and peak emissions by around the same point, though it would “work hard” to do so earlier.

While the U.S. also said it would reduce emissions 26 to 28 percent over 2005 levels cut by 2025, the same pledge that President Obama made last November in Beijing.

“The U.S. is strongly committed to reducing greenhouse gas pollution, thereby contributing to the objective of the Convention,” said the announcement. “The target is fair and ambitious. The U.S. has already taken substantial policy action to reduce emissions, taking the necessary steps to place us on a path to achieve the 2020 target of reducing emissions in the range of 17 percent below the 2005 level in 2020. Additional action to achieve the 2025 target represents a substantial acceleration of the current pace of greenhouse gas emission reductions.”

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