If you followed the G7 talks held at Cornwall this past week, you’d be aware of the focus on the growing threat of climate change to the planet’s longevity. In this opinion piece, Burt Rodrigues CEO of Biodx offers his thoughts on why countries must act as urgently to climate change, as they responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a crystal-clear example of the scale, and sheer speed at which the global community can tackle crises when we combine political will with business ingenuity and public mobilisation.” The Prince of Wales at G7 2021
We Need To Act Urgently On Climate Change
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, used his speech to emphasize to the G7 leaders that they need to “display the same sense of urgency in tackling climate change as they showed in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.” He added that the Covid-19 pandemic had shown what a “truly borderless crisis looks like.” His sting came at the end of his speech.
He pointed out, “Of course, we did not fully see COVID-19 coming. Yet climate change and biodiversity loss represent a borderless crisis, the solutions to which have been argued about and postponed for far too long.”
This is a crucial decade
Many other leaders added their voices on this issue including US President Joe Biden, proclaiming that “America is back at the table.” He was of course referring to his predecessor Donald Trump’s disinterest in climate change. Leaders appeared to agree this is a crucial decade that will determine the world’s future, even its very existence.
Vision for a net-zero world
There was even a vision laid out by G7 ministers for a net-zero world. This is when all greenhouse gases emitted are removed from the atmosphere. They also talked about taking a green approach to everything. From the economic recovery from the pandemic to the way, new infrastructure is built in the developing world.
However, here in Africa, what does this mean for us?
Climate Change in Africa – real promises or talking heads?
Last week also saw the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on climate change getting together virtually.
As chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa talked of the importance of speaking “with one clear voice to emphasise the primacy of multilateralism and to express our unwavering support for the full implementation of the UN Climate Change Convention and its Paris Agreement.”
But can we put our trust in these words? Can they take this regional unity forward into local effort when our own local governments are battling to supply basic resources like water and sanitation, let alone work on climate-saving strategies?
The bottom line on climate change in South Africa
With this talk about a recovery from the current state of affairs globally, one of the critical pillars is entrepreneurial uptake, and unfortunately, South African funding platforms to support early-stage research and development, regulatory compliance, and finally market entry are in disarray and tatters.
This is largely due to the poor handling of these institutions that have cost the South African government millions to build and brand since the early millennium. This comes down to a lack of trust and transparency, leading to no truthful communication between entrepreneurs, funders, strategic alliances, and generally interested parties.”
Africa is lagging in responding to the climate change agenda. We will need more action than words.
About the author:
Humberto (Burt) Rodrigues CEO of Biodx started off in the chemicals industry at AECI as a lab technician. He then became works chemist for Manro Hickson Organics, manufacturing biocides and detergents. For over two decades he gained considerable experience in the field while simultaneously furthering his production and business knowledge at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand.
Passionate about reducing society’s dependence on synthetic chemicals, Humberto developed a keen interest in biotechnology and started Biodx in 2002. Since then he has overseen the company’s research and product development to deliver solutions that enable a better world.