COP23: rethinking greening the earth through tree planting

By Watmore Makokoba

The United Nations Climate Change conference COP23 currently underway in Bonn, Germany, is one of the most critical conventions that countries of the world cannot ignore, especially developing countries who are largely on the receiving end from the effects of climate change.

For Zimbabwe, this is the opportune time to synchronize and fortify the recently launched National Climate Change Policy, a key document that is expected to guide the nation in building resilience and cope with effects of climate change.

This conference is also an opportunity to make a case for curbing the drastic effects of global warming such as the spread of infectious diseases like dengue fever, frequent and severe floods and droughts which have already brought extending suffering to poor developing countries.

Besides calling for feasible actions to avert such problems, it is time to also advocate for nations to play their part, no matter how small, towards reducing carbon emissions that cause global warming.

Some of these include, but not limited to, reducing carbon emissions through shifting to cleaner renewable energy and simply planting more trees.

WeForest, an international environmental organisation which works with communities, local organisations and NGOs to develop scalable reforestation projects with the aim to reduce global warming, has challenged nations not only to focus on reducing emissions, but also to work towards drawing out carbon already in the atmosphere through planting more trees.

“We must not only peak our global emissions levels by 2020, we must also draw the excess carbon from our atmosphere!

“The oceans have until now absorbed most of the extra carbon dioxide, however as oceans warm, their absorption capacity reduces. Seawater chemistry is also changing: over time the carbon in the oceans turns into carbonic acid, lowering pH levels and making the water more acidic, with consequences on corals for example.

“Our atmosphere is saturated: last month we reached a record high level of 404 ppm of CO2 concentration, where we should never have exceeded 350 ppm,” said WeForest  in a statement.

The organisation said during COP23, they will be calling for more pledges by corporates to endorse the reforestation call.

“Healthy and growing forests are the best technology to remove the excess carbon from the atmosphere, therefore this week, at COP23, we will be calling for more pledges for companies to endorse this bold pledge,” said WeForest.

The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) endorsed by a few hundred organizations aims to halve the deforestation of natural forests globally by 2020 and end it by 2030, restore 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands by 2020 with an additional 200 million hectares by 2030.

Surely, this is something that every nation, poor or rich can start to do.

One of the key objective of this conference is to give attention and retrospect progress in development of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of governments, and how these can enhance the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and curbing climate change.

SDG number seven, in particular, which talks of promotion of “clean and affordable energy for all” will be on the spotlight as it provides an epitome for enhancing livelihoods and sustainable development in developing countries.

The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) which kicked off on the 6th of November and running up to the 17th November in Bonn, Germany is premised on advancing the aims goals set forth in Paris agreement signed two years ago during COP21.

As the African idiom goes: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”

Post Author: Nyasha Nyakunu

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