Africa at a cross-road for a climate-resilient future – Mario Molina

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[av_heading tag=’h5′ padding=’10’ heading=’Mario Molina was on the SAFM’s Enviro Show this September 1st, 2016, to discuss how the Climate Reality Project faces up with the realities of environmental issues and spreads the word about the need to build a climate-resilient future now.’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

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On his 3rd visit to South Africa, Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps Director Mario Molina talked with Enviro Show’s Nancy Richards about climate change challenges, government responses and the work that Climate Reality Leaders are doing worldwide, and in Africa specifically, to encourage positive climate action at all levels.

Listen to Mario’s interview from 04’46 –  21’10.
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“We’ve seen a shift from a conversation about whether climate change was happening and whether it was man-made, to a conversation that culminated in Paris [COP21] last year where major players agreed that it’s happening and that the action is urgent and committed to take action according to their own capacity. So we are definitely making progress on this issue, but we need to do it fast.”

Started 10 years ago after the global success of Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth, the Climate Reality Project aims at making people aware of what the issues really are, and foster mobilisation from the community level all the way to climate-friendly policies. Over ten thousand people have been trained in 132 countries across the globe to take part in the movement.

Mario highlighted that while the overall challenges are the same in every country, the mechanisms for implementation of policies and for raising public awareness sometimes greatly vary.

“Climate change brings about similar thematic challenges throughout various countries, but they take different shapes and unique representations.”

However, the public is often not aware of what the government is up to with regards to tackling climate change: people don’t always know what their representatives have committed to or how they plan to get there.

The Climate Reality training provides people with a deep understanding of the issues and the policy landscape in their country and region, and empowers them to communicate the climate science to the public and governments through advocacy, community mobilisation and media outreach. These serve as basis for Climate Leaders to engage conversations and trigger action to tackle the effects of climate change in all sectors of the society.

“The flip side of any challenge is opportunity. The solutions to the climate crisis are often the same solutions to many countries’ economic problems.”

For instance, many countries are achieving grid parity, where sourcing energy from renewable sources is costing the same, and even cheaper, than sourcing it from fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas). That price difference changes radically the dynamics of the economic markets and how they can promote climate-friendly solutions – just like 1 °C can turn ice into water.

South Africa, like the other African countries, is facing incredibly important choices ahead, especially in how it will chose to develop its economy and its energy infrastructure. Not only are there the will-power, technologies and a potential for capital investment, but there is also a shared vision and agreement on what the pathway to sustainable development should and can look like.
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This conversation took place as South Africa celebrates the first day of National Arbor Week (1-7 September).

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