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December 09, 2011

Botswana’s 40-degree centigrade heat frizzles the maize crop

by Thobile Hans

The Botswana government has vehemently embraced the Africa Group and the G77+China positions at the Durban COP17 climate change negotiations.

Speaking at the high-level plenary, Botswana Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism Onkokame Mokaila said they were “highly optimistic that we can collectively reaffirm our commitment and common interest to the UN Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan as guiding principles and a road map to sustainable development”.

Since discussions started under the UNFCCC, emissions “have not reduced”

“The negative impacts of climate change have continued to erode our development effort as developing countries,” he said.

Botswana expected the Durban conference to take decisions on the second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and to fully operationalise the Cancun Agreement, including the establishment and capitalization of the Green Climate Fund to provide necessary initial start-up.

Botswana was semi-arid and landlocked and vulnerable to climate change.

“The effects of climate change have manifested themselves in frequent and severe droughts, floods, storms and heat waves. Botswana has. of late, been experiencing unprecedented temperatures of 41 degrees Celsius. ”

He painted a damning picture.

“A 30 percent reduction in yield of cereal crop comprising maize and sorghum was attributed to extreme temperatures. Cereal crop occupies approximately 75% of land under arable agriculture. This has exacerbated our food security problem and remains a threat to our poverty eradication efforts. The demand on our disaster preparedness and response is increasingly placing a heavy burden on our limited resources.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted with “over 80 percent certainty” that Botswana was facing water scarcity.

“It is against this backdrop that we have taken adaptation as a priority in order to attain resilience to climate change.

Reporting Development Network

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