5 February 2009

Uganda: Climate Change to Hit Poor Nations Hardest - Experts

Kampala — POOR countries like Uganda are likely to be hit hardest by climate change, experts have said.

Phillip Gwage, the head of Uganda's climate change unit, said food insecurity, diseases and ravaging floods are likely to worsen.

"The developing countries have contributed least to the bad impacts of climate change, but will suffer more from associated disasters," he said.

Gwage was speaking at a one-day seminar on clean development, organised by the British High Commission, at Protea Hotel Kampala.

The British High Commissioner, Martin Shearman, said the UK Government believed tackling climate change could not be under looked despite the global economic crisis.

"If immediate action is not taken, the estimated social, environmental and economic impact is equivalent to losing 5% to 20% of the global

GDP each year," said Shearman.

"In contrast, agreeing collectively to act now could reduce the cost to 3% of the global GDP by 2050."

He said the UK, the European Union and other developed countries should recognise the responsibility of richer nations in reducing global warming.

This, Shearman said, includes securing additional adaptation funding and support for technology transfer to boost the developing economies worldwide.

"Serious mitigation efforts are also needed by the major polluters," he said.

Global warming is the rise in temperatures, which is caused by heat that is trapped by the increasing amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere.

The state minister for environment, Jessica Eriyo, said the Kyoto Protocol had created a new form of trade in emissions that cause climate change.

Initiatives like Nyagak hydro-electric dams, which have replaced diesel-run generators, have saved the environment from pollution with carbon dioxide, thereby reducing global warming.

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