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West Africa’s falling fish stocks: illegal Chinese trawlers, climate change and artisanal fishing fleets to blame

West Africa’s falling fish stocks: illegal Chinese trawlers, climate change and artisanal fishing fleets to blame

AVERAGE fish catches by traditional fishing communities along the West African coast have declined significantly over the past three decades. Along the Gulf of Guinea, stretching from Côte d'Ivoire to Nigeria, fishers launch their wooden canoes from the beach to catch small pelagic fish, like sardines and anchovies, which they sell into local informal markets to make a living. They have done this for generations, but since the 1990s, a decline in the catch has put their livelihoods at risk. In Ghana, total landings of small pelagic fish fell by 59% between 1993 and 2019, despite increased fishing efforts. Landings…
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South Africa’s laws aren’t geared to protecting against climate change: judges are trying to fill the gap

South Africa’s laws aren’t geared to protecting against climate change: judges are trying to fill the gap

SOUTH Africa has plenty of environmental laws but none that specifically oblige government officials to consider the risks and impacts of climate change when they approve new developments. In their research, environmental law experts Clive Vinti and Melanie Jean Murcott set out how judges are dealing with this gap in the law. What are the gaps in the law? The main gap is that no law specifically obliges companies establishing mines or building new developments like power stations to do a climate change assessment before they start construction. A climate change assessment would look at how a proposed development would…
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Swiss women win big in a landmark climate case. Where do US climate cases stand?

Swiss women win big in a landmark climate case. Where do US climate cases stand?

A landmark climate change ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found that the Swiss government had violated the human rights of its citizens by failing to do enough to combat climate change, in a case brought by a group of older Swiss women. In the United States, similar litigation has been filed largely on behalf of young people who claim their futures and health are jeopardized by climate change. Here is a look at where those cases stand. YOUTH-LED EFFORT There are at least three youth-led climate cases pending in U.S. federal trial courts and state courts in Hawaii. Youth plaintiffs have already…
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Why is Ghana so hot this year? An expert explains

Why is Ghana so hot this year? An expert explains

GHANA’s meteorological agency and the state’s health service have issued warnings about a period of very high temperatures expected in the first half of 2024 around the country. Ghana’s experience is part of a global phenomenon: record temperatures were recorded in 2023. Yaw Agyeman Boafo, the programmes coordinator and a senior research fellow at the University of Ghana’s Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, answers some key questions. What is unusual about the weather in Ghana? Since the 1960s, Ghana has been getting warmer, with temperatures going up by about 1°C – a little over 0.2°C every ten years.…
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East Africa must prepare for more extreme rainfall during the short rainy season – new study

East Africa must prepare for more extreme rainfall during the short rainy season – new study

EAST Africa has recently had an unprecedented series of failed rains. But some rainy seasons are bringing the opposite: huge amounts of rainfall. In the last few months of 2023, the rainy season, known as the “short rains”, was much wetter than normal. It brought severe flooding to Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. In Somalia, more than 2 million people were affected, with over 100 killed and 750,000 displaced from their homes. Tens of thousands of people in northern Kenya lost livestock, farmland and homes. The very wet short rainy seasons are linked to a climate event known as a positive…
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Climate change: alarming Africa-wide report predicts 30% drop in crop revenue, 50 million without water

Climate change: alarming Africa-wide report predicts 30% drop in crop revenue, 50 million without water

AFRICAN countries will suffer significant economic loss after 2050 if global warming is not limited to below 2°C, a new study by the Center for Global Development has found. Environment and energy economist Philip Kofi Adom is the author of the report. He synchronised many years of research by climate change scientists and researchers and found that West and East Africa will fare worst. We asked him about his findings. PHILIP KOFI ADOM, Associate Professor, School of Economics and Finance, University of the Witwatersrand You found climate change will reduce Africa’s crop earnings by 30%. How will this affect people?…
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Africa to be $2.5 trillion short of climate finance by 2030, UN says

Africa to be $2.5 trillion short of climate finance by 2030, UN says

AFRICA will be $2.5 trillion short of the finance it needs to cope with climate change by 2030, a U.N. official said, adding that the continent has contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions while seeing some of the worst impacts. Africa attracts only 2% of global investments in clean energy but needs $2.8 trillion of investment in the sector by 2030, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa chief economist Hanan Morsy told a conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, warning against the consequences of under-funding. "We end up in a vicious circle with investment shortfalls increasing exposure risk and worsening…
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Kenya’s had unusually hot weather – an expert unpacks what could be causing it

Kenya’s had unusually hot weather – an expert unpacks what could be causing it

IN early 2024 most parts of Kenya, including Nairobi, experienced unusually high temperatures. The World Meteorological Organisation described the hot weather as a global phenomenon: record high temperatures were recorded in 2023. January 2024 has been recorded as the hottest month on record so far worldwide. Gilbert Ouma, the coordinator of the University of Nairobi’s Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, and an associate professor at the Department of Meteorology, answers some key questions. GILBERT OUMA, Associate Professor, Meteorology Department, University of Nairobi What is unusual about the weather in Nairobi? The annual average temperatures for Nairobi are normally moderate,…
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Tunisia farmer turns to old wheat varieties as climate change bites

Tunisia farmer turns to old wheat varieties as climate change bites

TUNISIAN wheat farmer Hasan Chetoui is seeking inspiration from the deep past as he tries to adapt to drought caused by climate change, sowing old wheat varieties that he hopes will produce crops throughout the year. Chetoui does not believe his experiment with alternative types of wheat is likely to work everywhere, but he thinks it may help him cope after years of scant rains and heatwaves that destroyed much of his crop last year. "We obtain an old Tunisian type of wheat, cultivated in the field, capable of producing multiple times a season, providing us with strategic solutions," he…
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IMF reaches staff-level agreement with Ivory Coast for $1.3 bln resilience, sustainability facility

IMF reaches staff-level agreement with Ivory Coast for $1.3 bln resilience, sustainability facility

THE International Monetary Fund said that it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ivory Coast for a $1.3 billion programme to fight climate change supported by the fund's Resilience and Sustainability Facility. Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, is exposed and vulnerable to climate change, the IMF said in a statement. "Rising temperatures, rainfall disruptions, flooding, rising sea levels and coastal erosion are major challenges and represent recurring risks for resilient, sustainable and inclusive economic growth," the fund said. The reform measures between 2024 and 2026 will support Ivory Coast's actions to strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigation, particularly…
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