A human rights approach to climate change in Africa: Challenges and prospects

Authors Obonye Jonas

ISSN: 2026-8556
Affiliations: Practising Attorney, Bayford & Associates; Lecturer, Law Department, University of Botswana
Source: SADC Law Journal, The, 2012, Issue 1, p. 78 – 97


Since 1992, when the first negotiations on climate change took place, no other single topic in the world has been given so much of policymakers’ time. The reason for issues surrounding global warming and climate change coming to the fore is not hard to find: it stems from the fact that, when greenhouse gas emissions are left unchecked, the future will be inhabitable. However, despite palpable threats presented by global warming and climate change, not much has been achieved in terms of abating greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, with countries like the United States — which are the greatest producers of carbon dioxide emissions — refusing to commit themselves to the to the global quest to reduce such emissions. Clearly, the attitude of the United States and other like-minded states portends misery for the future. Unfortunately, the dire consequences of climate change resulting from actions of uncooperative states are felt most keenly in Africa because the developing world has a limited capacity to adapt. Global warming is a threat to humankind, on the African continent and beyond it, and calls for all states to devise multi-vector strategies and concentrate their efforts in combating this problem.