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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

3 - Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Exploring the Role of Land Reforms in Africa

Summary

THE CLIMATE CHANGE PHENOMENON

The Link with Anthropogenic Activities

The fact that global climate conditions have been changing beyond natural variability is now well established. Evidence accumulated over the last several decades indicates that this change has intimate links with anthropogenic – that is, human-induced – activities that are essentially responsible for substantially enhanced levels of emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established in 1988, has conducted several assessments, which show that unless deliberate steps are taken to reduce GHG emissions in the coming decades, irreversible changes will occur in the global climate system. Most vulnerable to change are

Global and regional temperature precipitation and other parameters

Soil structure and moisture

Global mean sea levels

Frequency of extreme events associated with changes in absolute temperatures

The changes will, in turn, lead to a number of adverse effects, on, inter alia

Ecological systems

Health and epidemiological patterns

Hydrological and water resource balance

Food and fiber production

Coastal and marine systems

Human settlements

Other socioeconomic sectors

This clearly poses an enormous challenge for international and domestic governance.

THE GLOBAL FRAMEWORK

The Climate Change Convention

Confronted with the evidence, the international community has, in the last decade, been involved in discussions about the steps necessary for mitigating or facilitating orderly adaptation to these changes and impacts. An agreement was eventually reached at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 for a convention to define the strategies necessary for collective intervention into the climate change phenomenon.

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