Bad News

Burundi: part of the solution, not the problem

While every country in the world suffers from the impacts of climate change, some have no part in the creation of the problem. 

A report has shown that Burundi is the smallest contributor of carbon dioxide in the world. In fact, Burundi’s per capita emissions of 0.027 tonnes is so low it’s often rounded to zero.

The report shows that the top ten most food vulnerable countries combined produce just 0.08% of global CO2. Russia’s per capita emissions are 454 times larger than Burundi, America’s is 581 times while the average Saudi generates the equivalent CO2 as 719 Burundians.

"What is quite clear is that climate change is not only a global health crisis, it is a moral crisis," said Samuel Myers, Principal Research Scientist at Harvard University’s Department of Environmental Health.

As well as slashing emissions the other side of the climate coin is helping the likes of Burundi to build resilience and adapt to climate change while at the same time developing in a sustainable way that allows them to survive and thrive. Many of these poor countries have vast untapped potentials. Not only in natural resources, but mainly in their human resources. Africa have a thriving ingenuity in finding sustainable energy free solutions to be shared and adapted for sustainable production. With the right financial and technological support this can also strengthen their resilience to climate change. The international finance market need to redress and modernise to ensure early and adequate response to climate change.

Burundi is recovering from a civil war that lasted over a decade and claimed the lives of around 300,000 people - and displaced even more. It has largely remained peaceful since the end of the war, and has now transformed into a nation thriving of ingenuity. But agricultural livelihoods have been affected in recent years by an increasingly variable climate. It is some times difficult for farmers who have achieved food security to move beyond this. Farmers need assistance to adapt to a changing climate and extract the greatest possible value from their harvest.

- Burundi is a living testament to the injustice of the climate crisis. Despite producing almost no carbon emissions, Burundi is on the front line of climate change, suffering from higher temperatures, lower crop yields and increasingly unreliable rains, said Dr Doreen Stabinsky, Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the College of the Atlantic in Maine. “

Only last month, a study in Lancet Planetary Health showed that over the next 30 years, climate change combined with increasing carbon dioxide could significantly reduce the availability of critical nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. One of the authors of that study, Dr Samuel Myers, Principal Research Scientist at Harvard University’s Department of Environmental Healthsaid: “Our research shows that rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are reducing the nutritional quality of the food we eat and that the most vulnerable people to these impacts are those least responsible for rising global CO2 concentrations.”

The findings highlight the inequality at the heart of the global climate crisis, with the most vulnerable around the world set to pay the price for the actions of those in richer nations.

As well as climate impacts such as prolonged droughts or severe flooding directly is now causing food insecurity in many vulnerable nations. Climate change is also exacerbating other threats to food security. It is a similar story around the world, where in nations such as the Democratic Republic of Congo droughts and crop failures inflame existing conflicts and social tension.

To address the problem in the fairest way the richest countries must lead the way on dramatic emissions cuts, the report argues, while poorer nations must be given more support to 'leapfrog' fossil fuel development and roll out renewable power at scale.

Government funding is essential, but there is a compelling business case for businesses to support climate security initiatives as a means of aiding economic development in emergeing markets, improving supply chain resilience, and averting the reputational and financial risks. But there is hope coming also from the private sector.

Modern blockchain technology is now paving the road for fractionalised investing, but that is only one example. There are many more.

In cooperation with Blockhomes Burundi, the Swedish company Power One AB is now introducing a modern method of financing renewable energy in the Kabonga region in southern Burundi. Through this system the area will be electrified with renewable energy distributed through a smart grid containing high speed internet.

- Combined with a planned education facility for modern sustainable economics, marketing and blockchain technology. we will build a show case for a future decentralised economy built on renewable energy, global communication and less intermediaries, says Séraphine Barigenera, COO Blockhomes Burundi

 

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