Monday, 20 February 2012

Rwanda : Climate change at the forefront of environmental concerns

The government of Rwanda is at the glance combating climate change impacts on the social economic spheres to ensure a sustainable environment.
  Climate change at the forefront
Mankind and human activities have been ranked the main causes of climate change. In general, forests are sensitive to climatic variability and change. Climatic factors that influence forest health-temperature, rainfall, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases and extreme weather and fire events—are changing and are expected to continue changing due to human activities.
Research has indicated that the most industrialized countries are contributing much to global warming which is turning most countries fringing to south of Sahara to turn into deserts.
A report by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) on the economics of climate change in Rwanda has revealed that climate change has had a significant setback on the economy, especially in the past four years. The research which was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) assessed the impact of the various climate change conditions such as carbon emissions, droughts and floods.

However the government of Rwanda is now embarking on more determined steps to integrate climate change considerations into social and economic plans. It has commissioned the preparation of a National Strategy on Climate Change and Low Carbon Development that will guide national policy and decision making. The new strategy will position Rwanda to take maximum advantage of international climate finance such as the new Green Climate Fund.
The use of firewood or charcoal as the primary source of energy extends to 96% of the rural population and 72% of the households in the capital, Kigali. The government estimates that total demand for firewood outstrips the sustainable supply by a factor of four.

Although the 2010 MDG progress report considers there to be “little prospect” of increasing forest cover to the MDG target of 25% by 2015, the government has an energetic National Forestry Policy.  One billion seedlings are to be planted by 2013.
However, the government recognizes that the use of firewood cannot be eliminated in the short term. Its biomass energy strategy encompasses the use of energy efficient stoves and the creation of sustainable wood harvesting environments, as well as more conventional investment in alternative energy sources.


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