10 June 2008

Namibia: Climate Change a Fallacy - South African Professor

Windhoek — MAN-MADE global warming is not real, a Professor from the University of Pretoria charged in Windhoek last week.

Professor Will Alexander claimed that claims by environmentalists that climate change was real were not true and if the world was warmer now, it was simply caused by natural climatic variability.

This is contrary to recent reports by the UN-funded Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other world scientists that climate change was a reality and people just have to learn to live with it.

Alexander said he was involved in a number of studies to see if changes in the atmosphere were being caused by climate change but there was no evidence of that.

Alexander was one of the speakers at the national debate on climate change held in Windhoek on Friday.

He said while environmentalists claim that rainfall will decrease because of climate change, rainfall has in fact increased during the last century.

According to him, it was also not true that the frequency of tropical cyclones, droughts and floods will increase.

"There is no evidence on that," said Alexander.

He claimed that disasters such as this year's floods in the North were caused by natural climatic variability and people were affected because they were now living in areas prone to natural disasters, whereas before they lived in higher-lying areas.

But Dr Omu Kakujaha from the University of Namibia said whether climate change or climate variability was real or not, it has a negative impact on Namibia's economy.

He said stress would be exerted on all economic sectors, especially the primary ones such as agriculture and fishing, on which the Namibian economy depends.

About 70 per cent of Namibians depend on agriculture and decreased rainfall will lead to decreased production.

Last week, Environment and Tourism Deputy Minister Leon Jooste said Namibia was vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to factors such as over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture, widespread poverty, recurrent droughts and floods.

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