In the last two weeks I have taken part, in a group of four in an earth summit simulation workshop. The country we were allocated was Ethiopia, a developing, under nourished African nation. The given proposal was:
Carbon emissions to be neutral by 2100.
The research stage gave us the opportunity to gain a concise and in-depth knowledge base for our respective country.
This was an enlightening experience and shed light on the current state of Ethiopia’s climate both in an Economic and environmental sense. Ethiopia is a developing country that is suffering severely due to climate change. Agricultural production remains the main source of income for most rural communities in the region (Bryan Et Al, 2009), an industry in which climatic conditions are imperative, especially with the relatively undeveloped farming style of Ethiopia, due to the relative lack of industrialisation. Adaptation of the agricultural sector is crucial to protect the livelihoods of the poor and to ensure food security (Bryan Et Al, 2009).
Over the last decades, Ethiopia has experienced climatic changes. Average temperature has increased markedly, with 0.2°C13 to 0.28°C14 per decade over the last 40-50 years. It has been most extreme in already dry and hot areas of the country, most notably in the north and east, and in the July-September season (Oxfam, 2010).
Climate change poses a huge challenge to Ethiopia and its people. The country is faced with increasingly unpredictable rains, and sometimes the complete failure of seasonal rains – problems which are linked to climate change (Oxfam, 2010). The main barriers include lack of information on adaptation methods and financial constraints (Deressa, 2009).
As a result of the information found though research we decided that as representatives of Ethiopia we would vote yes for this proposal, we felt that it was the obvious decision for a country that is suffering the brunt of climate change.
The second stage was the pitch; this was to work within our group to design a presentation to provide context for our decision. Our presentation was and concise compact verbal presentation, summarising the hardest hitting impacts of the current Ethiopian climate alongside a brief background of Ethiopia as a country.
And finally the discussion, this was the most interesting aspect of the process, we were given the opportunity to pose a question to another country and have a discussion, the American group were representing ‘Trump’s America’, and as expected some of their input was fairly closed minded and US centric, they were reluctant to reduce America’s emissions as it would impact the development of Americas economy. We (Ethiopia) posed the question ‘by dispelling this concept do you agree you are dispelling the notion that we are all one community and we all live on this earth’ to with America replied… ‘I’m pretty sure we know where we live, we live in America’, in this scenario they were fanning the fire of the stereotype of a closed minded America.
Bryan Et Al, E. (2009). Adaptation to climate change in Ethiopia and South Africa: options and constraints. Environmental Science & Policy, 413-426.
Deressa, T. t. (2009). Determinants of farmers’ choice of adaptation methods to climate change in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia. Global Environmental Change, 248-255.
Oxfam. (2010). The Rain Doesn’t Come on Time Anymore – poverty, venerability and climate variability in Ethiopia. London: Oxfam International.