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Climate Change gurus on fire

by Shelton Muchena
20 Oct 2021 at 08:06hrs | Views
Climate Change mitigation experts are shining at a two-day capacity building workshop in Harare where they have invited Media Practitioners in the northern region.

The workshop is being facilitated by Ministry of Environment, Climate, tourism and hospitality industry in partnership with Konrad Adenauer.

The training session is aimed at capacity building for media practitioners on climate change facts, communication and strategies for adaptation.

While giving opening remarks Director for climate change ministry Washington Zhakata said "In Zimbabwe, most communities are in the climate frontline, struggling daily to adapt to the changing climate. Yet most of these communities lacks the relevant information and skills they need to understand the cause and effect or adapt to climate change.

The media is recognized as one of the key pillars of getting this information to the public. However, the work of the media to this effect is limited as they themselves have little knowledge on climate change issues.

During the meeting, Lawrence Mashungu who is a climate mitigation expert said, "Scientists have studied past climate changes to understand the factors that can cause the planet to warm or cool. The big ones are changes in solar energy, ocean circulation, volcanic activity and the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. And they have each played a role at times. He also added that Greenhouse gases like water vapour and carbon dioxide serve an important role in the climate. Without them, Earth would be far too cold to maintain liquid water and humans would not exist.

We also know that we are the cause of rising greenhouse gas concentrations - and not just because we can measure the CO2 coming out of tailpipes and smokestacks. We can see it in the chemical signature of the carbon in CO2.

Carbon comes in three different masses: 12, 13 and 14. Things made of organic matter (including fossil fuels) tend to have relatively less carbon-13. Volcanoes tend to produce CO2 with relatively more carbon-13. And over the last century, the carbon in atmospheric CO2 has gotten lighter, pointing to an organic source.

We can tell it's old organic matter by looking for carbon-14, which is radioactive and decays over time. Fossil fuels are too ancient to have any carbon-14 left in them, so if they were behind rising CO2 levels, you would expect the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere to drop, which is exactly what the data show.

It's important to note that water vapour is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. However, it does not cause warming; instead, it responds to it. That's because warmer air holds more moisture, which creates a snowball effect in which human-caused warming allows the atmosphere to hold more water vapour and further amplifies climate change. This so-called feedback cycle has doubled the warming caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Source - Shelton Muchena