"Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that
increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult
and costly." Such are the statements from some of the world bodies, about the realities of climate change.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):Climate change means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, with the ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
In Uganda, government and other organisations are taking steps to address climate change:
- The Climate Change Unit (CCU), was created in 2008, directly under the office of the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Water and Environment, with an objective to strengthen Uganda’s implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol (KP).
- The climate action network in Uganda (CAN - U) is a civil society network comprising of NGOs, academia, private sector, and religious institutions. The Coalition on Environment and Climate Change in Uganda (CECCU) is a network of more than 30 civil society organizations that aim “to maximize the benefits to the people of Uganda through advocacy for sustainable conservation and protection of environment and utilization of natural resources.”
- The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in collaboration with Makerere University established a database of climate change experts: Uganda to strengthen the capacity of Agriculture research centres to mainstream climate change into their programs.
- Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP) emphasizes among the strategic objectives under climate change, the need to promote a low carbon development pathway for the country and climate-proof the country’s national development. Uganda’s private sector commits to climate change mitigation
- Makerere University Climate Association (MUCCA) is a student led organization with the aim to sustain a global mobilization against climate change through local action. MUCCA focuses on educating and spreading climate change adaptation, mitigation measures/techniques and knowledge at different levels to reduce community vulnerability and to improve resilience to climate change.
- The Resilient Africa Network ( RAN) funded by USAID is a partnership of 20 African universities in 16 countries, to strengthen the resilience of communities by nurturing and scaling innovations from the different universities. RAN will apply science and technology to strengthen the resilience of African communities against natural and man-made stresses.
Climate Change Mitigation and adaptation are some of the measures that are taken to counter the adverse effects of climate change;
Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices and consumer behavior. It can be as complex as a plan for a new city, or as a simple as improvements to a cook stove design. Efforts underway around the world range from high-tech subway systems to bicycling paths and walkways. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through green agriculture.
Climate Change Adaptation seeks to lower the risks posed by the consequences of climatic changes. It is the action taken to help communities and ecosystems cope with changing climate conditions. It is described as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.
Adaptation is a process by which strategies to moderate, cope with and take advantage of the consequences of climatic events are enhanced, developed, and implemented. It consists of actions undertaken to reduce the adverse consequences of climate change, as well as to harness any beneficial opportunities. Adapting to climate change is about taking deliberate and considered actions to avoid, manage or reduce the consequences of a hotter, drier and more extreme climate and to take advantage of the opportunities that such changes may generate.
The critical challenge is to increase mitigation and adaptation planning and action at different levels – individual, household, community, national, regional and global. We are all part of the solution; Many solutions already exist; Many solutions provide answers to other challenges. So what are you doing?