The Vice President, Mr Slumber Tsogwane, has commended the University of Botswana for its dedicated efforts towards the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process.
Mr Slumber Tsogwane was speaking at the official opening of the IPCC 4th Lead Author Meeting (LAM4) at the University of Botswana Conference Centre on April 9, 2018.
UB organised the five-day meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. The meeting is overseen by the transdisciplinary Botswana Global Environmental Change Committee (BGCC) under the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at UB and the Botswana National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) under the Department of Meteorological Services.
“Let me thank the University of Botswana, in particular, the volunteering by the Botswana Global Environmental Change Committee members and their dedication to IPCC process that I believe attracted this meeting to Botswana,” said Mr Tsogwane.
The Vice President said the support of the University of Botswana had been pivotal in facilitating such a highly demanding meeting. The IPCC is made up of 195 member countries and was set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers around the world with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change.
IPCC involves hundreds of leading researchers and experts from all over the world, who review thousands of scientific papers to summarize the current international scientific basis of climate change. The resulting reports are important inputs in international climate negotiations.
The Botswana meeting has, therefore, brought together over 100 high level climate change experts from nearly 40 countries to work on one of the most significant climate change reports in climate change discourse, a special report on: “The impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty (IPCC SR1.5) ”.
It is against this background that Mr Tsogwane expressed the hope that the resulting special report would assist Batswana to understand what they stood to gain from limiting warming to 15°C as well as to understand the actions required to achieve the objective.
“Like most other developing countries, Botswana faces some challenges in meeting her NDCs (national determined contributions). Climate change in Botswana is reflected by a number of changes including longer drought episodes resulting in severe water shortages, changes in rainfall patterns resulting in destructive wind and hailstorms and floods … heat waves and outbreaks of crop diseases …” said the Vice President.
However, Mr Tsogwane regretted that despite such adverse impacts of climate change, Africa’s contribution to the IPCC process was limited. “I need to emphasise that Africa, like all other continents of the world, needs to give due attention to issues of climate change,” he pleaded.
Mr Tsogwane warned that that was because climate change was a matter that knew no boundaries, hence it was within such context that African countries should show more interest and participate fully in fora that were meant to deal with matters of climate change.
He expressed gratitude that the hosting of the LAM4 in Botswana was an opportunity to be acquainted with the work of the IPCC and to cultivate interest in climate change among scientists, research institutions and other segments of society. Mr Tsogwane was particularly upbeat about the outreach activity conducted in Ramotswa on the eve of the LAM4 in which IPCC experts engaged and shared knowledge on climate change issues with the community.