UN Economic Commission For Africa Calls For A ‘Green’ COVID-19 Recovery; Joining Other Agencies

Africa must tackle both the climate and coronavirus crises at the same time, according to a new paper published by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), joining other regional agencies such as the European Commission and the World Health Organization in calling for a “green recovery” from COVID-19.

The paper, Climate Change and Development in Africa Post COVID-19: Some Critical Reflections, came on the day temperatures potentially set a grim new record for the highest temperature recorded within the Arctic Circle, where a small town in Siberia surpassed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sustainability in a post COVID-19 world should be based on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the environment,” writes experts from UNECA’s Africa Climate Policy Centre. “Recovery plans must not reinvest in… polluting industries but promote meaningful employment, ensure just transitions, and be based on available science.” 

The coronavirus’ breach of the animal-human barrier shows that the pandemic and climate crises are intertwined, writes the authors. Solutions must therefore address both. 

“The origin of the novel coronavirus in wildlife points to the dangers of the disruption and destruction of natural ecosystems and biodiversity, which has brought us much closer to wild animals – and their viruses.

“This ecosystem destruction is brought about by growing global demand for crops and animal-based foods, combined with unsustainable production practices (particularly industrial agriculture), and has resulted in us breaching several planetary boundaries including land use, climate change and genetic diversity.” 

World Meteorological Organization Sends Team To Confirm Record High Arctic Temperature

While the Siberian town, Verkhoyansk, is located in an area of Eastern Siberia with extreme temperatures in both the winter and summer, passing 100 degrees Fahrenheit may still set a new record for the region.

The World Meteorological Organization’s atmospheric scientists are “formally reviewing” the reports, according to a press release

“It has been an unusually hot spring in Siberia, and the coinciding lack of underlying snow in the region combined with overall global temperature increases, undoubtedly helped play a critical role in causing this extreme temperature observation,” said Prof Cerveny, President’s Professor of Geographical Sciences, Arizona State University.

So far, the WMO has tentatively confirmed the reports, which they say are consistent with upper atmosphere measurements above Eastern Siberia. 

Image Credits: WHO/Mwebembezi.