Five months ago a bustling fish market stood on the shores of Malawi’s Lake Chihuahua.Now hundreds of fishing boats lie marooned on the cracked mud.Water levels fluctuate but scientists say climate change is making the seasonal dry out of the lake far more dramatic.Fishermen are being forced to leave and look for work elsewhere.“Climate change contributes to the current recession that we are experiencing,because you can see that in 2012 there was a recession where the lake lost about 80 percent of its water then it recovered in 2013, but not fully so since then every year we’ve been experiencing these recessions.”
Policymakers gathering at the COP24 for climate talks say it is developing countries like Malawi that are being hit hardest by the impacts of climate change.The charity Water Aid has released a report ranking the country’s worst hit by water shortages with Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan making up the top three.“But the fact is that there’s people who are living with the impacts of climate change right now and they’re feeling their impacts not through carbon but through water and so and as we’ve seen in the past few years and will continue to see for many years to come unfortunately is a huge increase in water stress and water scarcity.”
Richer nations have pledged 100 billion dollars a year for poorer nations to deal with the consequences of climate change,but Water Aid says they are failing to deliver.Scientists say emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 to have any hope of coping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target agreed in the Paris Climate Deal.
But the number of coal-fired power stations, the most polluting form of energy generation is growing.The German organization Ergo Volt calculates that 478 billion dollars had been invested into expansion of the coal industry between January 2016 and September 2018 including in Africa.“Fourteen African countries now the first coal plants are being developed.It’s completely crazy.Economies that could just be leap frogging to a renewable energy economy that instead are having largely by foreign companies having coal plants being pushed on them as a Solution.”Meanwhile the World Health Organization warns that climate change will exacerbate the impact of some diseases and health problems including Malaria, malnutrition and heat exposure.
Henry Ridgwell for VOA news London