Opening Doors to action on climate change


“Africa is changing,” says Francis Kahembwe, “and there is hope. But the progress needs to be nurtured into life.” [Picture by Yvonne Baginsky ]

How can we help African countries adapt to climate change? Is it right that the world’s poorest countries should suffer the worst consequences of pollution from the richest nations? These were some of the tough questions Francis Kahembwe put to the audience in his talk on Africa and Climate Change at the Friends of the Earth Edinburgh meeting on Thursday 30 October.

There are no easy answers to climate change but Francis outlined some practical andfrancis.jpg achievable ways of adapting to climate change and ensuring a sustainable quality of life at the same time. In Africa, where climate change is already affecting the lives of millions of people, better weather forecasting alone could help increase crop yields by enabling farmers and policy makers to predict rainfall and drought with greater accuracy.

This very thought-provoking talk to Friends of the Earth Edinburgh marked the concluding phase of the shadowing programme for Francis who began our Opening Doors 2008 programme in May this year. A former forester from Uganda, Francis asked for a shadowing programme with a special focus on environmental issues. After two days shadowing Sarah Boyack, MSP for Central Edinburgh, Francis has spent the last two months working with Scottish Environment LINK the cross party environmental lobbying agency.

We look forward to the report Francis will present when he has completed a final day with Sarah Boyack. Meanwhile questions raised by his talk remain. Not least, how can rich countries of the north ensure that funding for adaptation to climate change is part of development aid?

“Africa is changing,” says Francis, “and there is hope but the progress needs to be nurtured into life.”

Friends of the Earth Climate Change talks continue in the Quaker Meeting House, Victoria Terrace. Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, will talk about Transport and Climate Change 0n 27 November at 7.30pm.

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