Climate change: it’s upon us and we must act now


Such contention is dangerous. For a start, scientists’ warnings about future weather patterns are certainly not overreactions to the evidence they have gathered. In most cases, observed climate changes – the slump in summer sea ice coverage in the Arctic in recent years is a good example – have turned out to be far more drastic than researchers had originally predicted. 


In a way, their views of the future are cautious evaluations that most probably underestimate the likely impact of global warming. But there is a more straightforward reason to repudiate deniers’ claims about the scientists. The impact of climate change is not an issue that is going to be determined in far-off years for the simple reason that it is already happening. 



For sub-Saharan Africa, finding consistently higher temperatures and mixed precipitation changes for the 2050 period. Compared to historic climate scenarios, climate change will lead to changes in yield and area growth, higher food prices and therefore lower affordability of food, reduced calorie availability, and growing childhood malnutrition. Cereal production growth for a range of crops in SSA is projected to decline by a net 3.2 percent in 2050 as a result of climate change.


However, The Gambia has grown increasingly aware of the reality. The failure of the 2011 cropping season was mainly attributed to climate change which has greatly affected the livelihood of our people, particularly women farmers whose survival, school fees, health bills and feeding depended on it. Rural Gambia was hit hardest by poor cropping season.


It is true that even without climate change SSA remains the most food-deprived region worldwide and the only one with projected increases in childhood malnutrition over the next two decades despite recent increases in economic prosperity and gross domestic product, which were generated through agriculture. 


But they were hard hit by the effects of climate change, through floods which affected the cropping season, thus warranting the government of The Gambia to declare “crop failure”, and call on the international community for support. Climate change is one of the major challenges hampering agricultural development in Africa and The Gambia, in particular. This change in long-term weather conditions is threatening food security. 


The most obvious target now to keep such threat at bay should be based on the growing number of studies analysing how agricultural production and commodity markets need to be adjusted to promote interregional balance in agricultural production and food security in response to climate change. We know that the Gambia government is committed to alleviating the impact of climate change on food security. But it needs the support and collaboration of all players both local and international.


From all indications, it is now essential for us all to have a climate conversation in our part of the world.  Climate change is altering the temperature to a great degree and the changes in excessive heat, abnormal flooding and humidity needs urgent action to remedy or minimise the effects of climate change.


For far too long, the result of continued inaction has been straightforward: climate change – once a far-off threat – is now upon us and is already bringing alarming change to our planet. A world bedevilled by climate change is not a remote, questionable prospect. It is a reality that has already arrived and is destined to have increasingly profound impacts until we wake up to the threat and act coherently.