Taking action on climate change.

The effects of climate change are being felt in Africa; countries, organisations and individuals, including young people, are taking actions to tackle these effects. In this edition, we highlight some outstanding climate action initiatives by young Africans.

The devastating effects of climate change, from longer periods of drought, more frequent wildfires and loss of sea ice to an increase in the number, duration and intensity of tropical storms, are being felt around the world with an intensity that underscores the immediate need for concerted efforts.

In March and April, cyclones tore through the Southern African countries of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, taking the lives of hundreds and injuring and displacing thousands. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the natural disaster affected more than 1.9 million people across the region, most requiring humanitarian assistance.

In the Horn of Africa and in West Africa, droughts and flooding are frequent and intense. In the Sahel region, prolonged droughts exacerbate desertification, while the rise in sea levels in the coastal cities of West Africa, from Ghana to Benin, is ravaging farming and fishing communities.

Floods in South Asia have taken more than 100 lives, while snow has been sighted in parts of Africa. Wildfires are burning across the state of New South Wales, Australia, while storms continue to batter the Americas. In Europe and parts of the US, temperatures have reached record highs. No region is immune.

After years of discussion and debate, scientists now agree that human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, commercial farming and land clearing, are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the sun, which leads to global warming.

'Nature is saying it is time to take action,' says Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

According to Ms. Andersen, annually the world is currently losing 1 million species due to climate change and pollution is causing about 2.6 million premature deaths globally.

September 2019 summit

The UN Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit 2019 follows the Global Climate Action Summit of September 2018 in San Francisco and the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which commits parties to the agreement to act to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. They were required to communicate by 2020...

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