Carbon induced climate change and global warming has become a daunting challenge for countries across the world. People are facing problems related to recurrent drought, heavy rain fall and flooding, warming to the other extreme, the outbreak of new diseases, the rising of the water level of ocean because of the melting of snows at the north pole, drying up of water points and expansion of desertification.
These and other related burdens of climate change especially in most developing countries, the agriculture, which is the main source livelihood and influential sector, is highly affected and therefore, food price rises sharply with times.
Obviously, Ethiopia's contribution to carbon emission is insignificant accounting not more than 0.3 percent but the rate of emission could increase if appropriate measures are not in place urgently. The consequence of climate change is costing Ethiopia. It further makes the effort of poverty reduction the hardest way.
Anyways, understanding the devastating impacts of climate change, Ethiopia is the leading country to devise Climate Resilient Green Economy six years ago. Since then various climate adaptation and mitigation mechanisms have been implemented.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation Development is the responsible ministry to oversee the planning and implementation of climate resilient development programs. According to the ministry’s website, climate-resilient development activities at various sectors are well underway at a cost of over_400 million USD. The mitigation and adaptation projects are implemented in agriculture, water, energy, forestry, construction, industries and transport sectors. Wide range of activities in relation to natural resources management have been carried out through watershed management, afforestation and reforestation, energy generation and access, and low-carbon transport systems.
Along with these interventions, there are engagements with another public sector entity focused on the environment designated special purpose facility that will channel its climate investments into the country. There are also partnerships with regional and international organizations that would help build capacity to access climate finance.
Dr. Yitebitu Mogess is the National REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation) Program Director under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. As to him, in Ethiopia 50 percent of carbon emission comes from deforestation while 40 percent from agriculture.
The main source of green house gas emission related to crop production include conversion of forest and enlarging farm lands for cultivation, the use of chemical fertilizers and the application of in appropriate farm management related to land preparation that expose land to release CO2. The livestock sector also contributes to the formation of CV4 from enteric fermentation and the release of both CH4 and N2O from inappropriate manure management practice.
In the country, there is still high deforestation rate which contribute to emission. Almost 85 percent of the population is living in rural areas and dependent on subsistence farming. The need for additional farmland, construction of houses and house hold energy forces people to deforestation and this led to land degradation due to soil erosion and depleted natural resources.
In preventing soil erosion from overgrazing, enclosure system is applied in selected areas of Tigray , Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nation and Nationalities states. The efforts of this endeavor have come out with better results including replenishing of underground water and rehabilitation of natural resources have been realized.
In rural part of the country, people utilize biomass for cooking and other purposes. The uneconomical usage of energy by open cooking system accelerates the rate of forest clearance. Charcoal making is also further aggravating the situation.
To curb the situation, the government in collaboration with partners has disseminated hundreds of thousands of energy saving stoves across the country.
On the other hand, to mitigate the GHG from crop production utilizing improved agronomic practice that increase soil carbon storage and nutrient management leading to more efficient use of nitrogen, soil and water management system such as terracing and water harvest technique is vital.
With regard to mitigating the livestock emission, downsizing the number of cattle population and rearing with permanent place with sufficient water and forage has been taken as a way out. In addition, reducing unproductive local cattle species and using the hybrid ones and supporting cattle rearing practice with medical facilities is essential.
To reduce emission from industries like cement plant, replacing coal with the utilizing of renewable energy source such as hydro power is taken as direction.
Similarly, in transport sector stretching electric powered rail transport is expanded.
According to the Ethiopian Academy of Science, there are key drivers of vulnerability to climate change in Ethiopia that are determined by phenomena that encompass global, regional and local conditions. The global determinants are associated with El Nino and La Nino events both of which are related to shifts of warm tropical pacific air currents occurring in the Pacific Ocean.
These events lead to extreme weather events such as drought and floods. The other component of climatic drivers arises from regional events that result in the movement of equatorial law pressure zones across the country.
So, it is quite clear that the efforts made by the country to sustain green growth development is challenged by external factors which threatening the mitigation ability. Therefore, the country needs to intensify efforts for the effective realization of the Climate Resilient Green Economy. Since, the issue of climate change is a pressing concern of many actors, partnership and collective engagement is fundamental.
In a situation where the activities in other parts of the world affect the other side, consultations and addressing the issue of climate change through concerted efforts undoubtedly decrease the devastating burden of climate change and global warming in many countries especially in developing ones.
BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS