Global Climate Change Impacts in Namibia

Climate Change - Is it real?

Also available in Deutsch

On Monday, the 13th of February, 2012 the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) Namibia organized together with the Namibian chamber of commerce and industry (NCCI) a public lecture on the Impacts of Global Climate Change to the Namibian economy and society. Different parts of the society as well as Parliament Members and business leaders were invited to listen to three different presentations and to discuss with the panelists and the audience.

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Hon Minister of Finance, Saara Kuungongelwa-Amadhila addressing the audience

Hon. Minister of Finance opening the meeting on "Climate Change from a Business Perspective"

The impact of global warming to the Namibian economy is enormous and already costs the government billions. Nevertheless the changing conditions also bear opportunities and potentials for growth, development and economic stability.

In the upcoming decade, the Namibian government will be required to build up an effective an adaptive intervention system that can cope with unpredicted upcoming challenges in climate changing conditions. The basic policies and intervention methods have already been created. The next step in preparing for climate change is to implement the formulated ideas and policies and bring them into force. Furthermore the economic impacts have to be analyzed and evaluated to find a solution where the country even can benefit from.

The first person speaking at the lecture was Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa- Amadhila, she spoke about costs that have already been caused by flooding and other weather caused catastrophes. In the past year the Namibian Government spend around 500 Million Namibian Dollar to repair from flooding destroyed streets and bridges. Furthermore a huge amount of money has already been allocated for the next raining season to be able to handle the upcoming catastrophes during the next period. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila mentioned that several billion dollars would be necessary to be able to deal with the negative consequences of the climate change and to handle emergency situations. She was talking about two billion dollars to merely prevent the Oshakati region form flooding. The finance Minister also talked about National Climate Change Strategy for Namibia which was formulated in the end of 2011 and she mentioned the exceptional urgency to adapt to the changing conditions in our environment. Furthermore Kuugongelwa-Amadhila explained that the overall water situation and described the upcoming water situation as the biggest obstacle the Namibian Government will have in the next years. At the end of her speech she tried to encourage the people from the private sector - attending the lecture - to think about investments into Research and Development Programs for clean energy as well as renewable energies and new technologies.

The second person speaking was Dr. Juliane Zeidler from the Integrated Environmental Consultants Namibia (IECN). Dr. Zeidler mentioned that the southern hemisphere and especially the southern part of Africa will become drier and hotter. She seized the arguments of Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and explained how much money would be necessary to fit the agricultural sector for the climate change. She was speaking about more than 20 billion Namibian Dollars to solely prepare this single sector for the change.

Economic impacts in every sector will show up. Especially the fishery-, agricultural-, tourism- and trade sectors will be affected and could become witnesses of a breakdown from more than 50% of their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the end of her presentation she was showing the dilemma of deciding “weather the climate change is real or not“ and came to the conclusion that not taking any actions will have a way stronger negative effect than taking no action even if the climate change would not be real.

Mr. Harald Schütt from Amusha consultancy, an expert in the field of renewable energies and alternative energy strategies was the third speaker of the conference. He focused on the possibilities and opportunities solar power could have for Namibia and explained a system that could be implemented all over Namibia. This System would consist about solar panels, an energy saving generator and an unlimited extendable supply network. As he mentioned, the system could supply small villages or big cities, it would be cheap and easy to maintain. The only problem is that people would be forced to invest and the payback period would be between 5 up to 15 years. A fact that discourages people from taking action and a field for intervention through the government is to encourage the public sector and even private persons to venture the risk of investing. In addition he explained the economic impacts the implementation of such a system could have for the whole county of Namibia. For one thing a nationwide implementation could make Namibia to the leading energy supplier in southern Africa and for another thing a lot of new jobs could be created. Moreover Namibia would no longer be dependent on energy from South Africa or Botswana.

To sum up Schütt explained that there is no other county in the whole world like Namibia that has so many hours of sunlight and therefore the possibility to produce such efficient and effective solar energy. The end of the lecture was the possibility for the audience to ask questions and to bring out some arguments. Several Parliament Members took the chance and explained from their point of view which actions are to take and what the government could do. Ben Amathila, the chairman of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration, for example was speaking about desalted marine waters that could be used in the agricultural sector. Besides he mentioned that the energy supply for small villages or towns should be generated through solar power, an argument in the sense of Mr. Schütt’s presentation and an endorsement to his argumentation.

Another Member of the Parliament raising his voice was Moses Amweelo, who was speaking about deforestation and its negative impacts as well as he was speaking about the removal of bush to create space for solar panels and other industries. The entire event was very effective, it made the people thinking and being aware of the problems the county will have to cope with in the upcoming years. Therefore it can be said hat the event was a success and that it should be reiterated frequently, not just to speak about the problems but also to make people thinking and maybe find solutions for particular and essential problems together with the public and government representatives.

Author

Bastian Köhler

Publication series

Event Reports

published

Namibia, February 28, 2012

Contact

Thomas W. Keller

Resident Representative

Thomas W. Keller
Phone +264 61 225-568
Fax +264 61 225-678
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