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Climate change: New effort at mitigating impact focuses on data, research

Climate change: New effort at mitigating impact focuses on data, research

As climate change continues to spread and deepen across nations and continents of the world, including Africa, new actions and efforts at mitigating the impact have also continued to evolve at various levels of engagement.

Environmentalists at individual, group, association and institutional levels have, at one time or another, gone out of their way to seek solutions aimed to stem or mitigate the devastation that climate change has caused across the globe.

One of such group is Climate Action Africa which launched recently what it called ‘CMA Labs’ aimed to ‘Drive Climate-Tech Startup Ecosystem in Africa’ through data and research.

Worried by the harsh realities caused by the scourge as reflected in severe droughts, flooding, and escalating agricultural challenges, the group has taken bold steps to address these pressing issues with a different approach that involves collecting data and carrying out research.

“Climate change poses significant threats to Africa’s environment and economy, needing urgent and sustainable solutions, Grace Oluchi, cofounder and team lead at Climate Action Africa, said at a press conference the group addressed recently in Lagos.

Oluchi explained that, through CMA Labs, they aimed to pioneer a thriving climate-tech sector that would harness the latest scientific and technological advancements to combat greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment and ensure Africa could feed and power itself sustainably.

“Our mission is to pave the way for a more sustainable future for all Nigerians and other countries in Africa. With a strong focus on data-driven decision-making, CMA Labs is developing an innovative data aggregation platform,” she said.

According to her, CMA Labs would pull in diverse data sources, enhance predictive modelling, and enable effective data analysis to aid organizations in understanding the impact of natural disasters across the country and empower stakeholders to make informed choices about climate-related issues.

A major problem that researchers and most organizations have in Nigeria is the near-absence of data to work with and this, according to Oluchi, is a pressing challenge they address as a concerned group.

She revealed that CMA Labs strives to bring transparency to such entities with vested interests in Nigeria, helping them to understand their carbon emissions, environmental impact, and the effects of their operations on the environment.

“Our efforts include fostering collaboration with startups to develop innovative technologies that mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

The scourge of plastic pollution affecting Nigeria’s farming industry has driven us to run successful campaigns. We are working with organisations capable of extracting polymers from discarded materials, such as lobster shells, potato starches, and corn husks, to create biodegradable food packaging,” she said.

“Adding value to the circular economy, we would mainstream innovative tools and processes that perfect our waste management processes and bring about increased use of biodegradable materials which have positive impacts on our environment,” she added.

Read also: El-Rufai to head Nigeria’s new Ministry of Energy

It is amazing how interest is building up across the world in climate change issues. This, perhaps, explains why Oluchi believes that the climate-tech sector has come to stay, describing it as one of the hottest categories for European and US startups and scaleups, with more than $111 billion, an equivalent of £ 97 billion, raised globally last year.

She cited the ‘Partech State of Tech in Africa 2022 Report’ which showed that the climate-tech sector raised $863 million in equity funding, noting that, last year, in November, chief executives of 55 African businesses with a combined revenue of $150 billion (about $460 per person in the US) released a statement committing to climate action.

“The United Nations Global Compact helped rally these companies to issue a joint statement which charged global actors to fulfil commitments to secure Africa’s climate sustainability,” she said, adding that they were determined to join the ranks of the hundreds of companies in Africa that were developing innovative solutions to cut emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere, thus accelerating rich nations toward achieving net zero emissions.

There are, however, on the way to achieving these set goals prominent among which, Oluchi said, was funding. She added that the government and the private sector were also challenged in effectively responding to the demands of a rapidly changing climate while ensuring sustainable economic development.

“We are launching CMA Labs today to support the development of a climate-tech startup ecosystem with the goal to collaborate with government, researchers, scientists, and experts to generate valuable insights to address climate change challenges specific to Africa. We hope that our collective work will lead to more evidence-based policy decisions on the continent,” she said.