Pretenders of climate change are real

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From MASEMBE TAMBWE in Kampala, 6th June 2010 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 214

HOOLIGANS who pretend to be promoters of climate change must be wiped out if the public is to get right information on agenda. Prof Peter Basalirwa from Makerere University said at the closing of the climate change conference for the media in Kampala over the weekend, that programmes on climate change have of late become a quick money making industry.

“Climate change is a money making industry where throngs of people are venturing to because donors are ready to fund, but most of them don’t know a thing about it,” he said.

Prof Basalirwa said that he had noticed that climate change units that are independent were mushrooming in Kampala, a situation that was making it extremely difficult for journalists to get accurate information. He wondered which of them gave the best information and who was mandated to issue it, saying that sanity needed to be restored and that the department bestowed with this responsibility should do something about it.

“There are many players desperately trying to be professional, but what they don’t realize is that they are only enabling scribes to get wrong information which they feed to the public, this is wrong,” he said sternly.

Also during the winding up of the conference, the Executive Director of Earth Journalism Network, Mr James Fahn indulged journalists into writing more climate change articles, saying that they needed to localize their stories for them to be interesting.

Mr Fahn said that he had no doubt that climate change was the biggest story of the century and that, negotiations and the impacts were not the whole story but rather the world’s changing economy and society adaptation.

“Climate change isn’t just an environmental story as many perceive it, it’s a livelihood story where projections show a gradual disappearance of water, it's about increase in diseases, about opportunities in carbon trade of up to 120 billion US Dollars,” he explained.

He added that climate change was also a security story in that it threatened the ecology, water sources and increase in natural disasters, migration and fight for resources, conflict and mitigation and is a political story.

The Head of the Uganda Climate Change Unit, Mr Paul Isabirye explained that as the impacts of climate change become more evident, it was vital to clean the environment using all possible technologies.

He, however, reminded that even if all mitigation was done, it was impossible to completely clean the air and thus important for African countries to participate in carbon trading, where developed countries pay for the planting of trees.

Mr Isabirye cited a study done in 1995 where it was found that 15 per cent of all fuel imports were destroyed in traffic jams, where nine million dollars was lost annually and it was possible that the figure had raised to 40 million dollars till now.

“All must be done to get people involved in starting up projects that will be funded by developing countries in cleaning the environment, our contribution is very minimal as compared to them,” he said.