Global warming has hit Africa with detrimental threats that impact the crucial needs of the people. Already tough conditions become even tougher with the most consequential factors - agriculture, water availability and over all livelihood. Africa is one of the countries worst affected by this crisis and something needs to be done, argues Zandre Campos.
Agriculture is a significant process that Africa depends on to prosper for various reasons. Not only does the industry help to eliminate hunger and food insecurity, it also employs majority of the countries' workforce.
Unfortunately, agricultural productivity in Africa is far less developed than the rest of the world. Due to climate change, rainfall will continue to reduce and temperatures will continue to increase, resulting in poor farm and land management. Agriculture forms a significant portion of the African economy and with it being impaired, it has the potential to drag Africa deeper into poverty.
The fact that the water quality and supply is dangerously low in Africa has a lot to do with the climate crisis also. This precious commodity is used for everything from hydrating, supporting livestock and fish farms, to producing crops and cooking. Sadly, this natural resource is being damaged by floods and droughts, melting of glaciers and the shrinking of bodies of water due to climate change.
Floods and droughts
There was already poor access to accessible drinking water before these catastrophic events started to occur. Even when water is available, there are risks of contamination because of various issues. For starters, wells and water sanitation facilities are not properly maintained because of limited financial resources. Also, water quality testing is not done regularly. This is necessary because surface water is severely polluted and can cause extreme illness.
All of these variants are decreasing the livelihood of the African people. For starters, the intense flooding and droughts are not only affecting the water supply, it impacts the shelter of the people as well. As you can imagine, it leads to the destruction of many homes and villages. Health scares are increasing because of the climate sensitive diseases and the minimal resources to prevent and treat sickness.
The good news is there is a key to fighting climate change - renewable energy. Energy sources such as: fossil fuels, oil and natural gas, have a negative effect on the environment. However, renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydropower can be used instead to prevent harmful damages to the environment.
Wind energy is a free and available renewable energy source that can be utilized in Africa in many different ways. This energy is generated by the motion of wind turbines that capture the wind's kinetic energy and convert it to electricity. There are three main types of wind power that have differences from each other.
First is utility-scale wind. This type of wind power is produced by massive turbines. They are developed to supply large amounts of energy to power grids and are managed and distributed accordingly.
The second type of wind energy is distributed wind. This type of wind is created by small turbines that often supply power directly to a home, farm or small business. Lastly, there is offshore wind. These are wind turbines constructed in bodies of water that operate global, but have yet to reach the shore. Overall, offshore wind energy blows stronger and more consistently than the other two types.
Solar energy is another great dependable energy source. Solar energy can be harnessed and usable with the aid of three main technologies: photovoltaic, concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar thermal to turn sunlight into heat or electricity. The first technique, photovoltaics is generated by sunlight and produces electricity without moving parts.
You will mostly see it on the rooftops of homes and businesses. Concentrated solar power uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Solar thermal technologies catch heat energy from the sun and use it for the creation of electricity and heating.
Another great renewable energy source is hydropower. It is one of the oldest power sources in the world. It is described as energy derived from the movement of large amounts of water. It uses turbines to help generate electricity using the energy of falling or flowing water to turn the blades.
The more we use these energy sources, the better chance Africa will have in the fight against climate change. They are reliable, affordable and will create more jobs. It is the most vital tool Africa has in this battle against global warming.
Zandre Campos is chairman and CEO of ABO Capital.