The 2023 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on the impacts of climate change has just been released and the outlook is bleak.We need to act now if we want our children to have any future or a habitable planet to live on. So why then in Namibia, a country that is already severely affected by climate change, isthere drilling for fossil fuels?
An industry that will leave our soils and water polluted with many examples like the Niger Delta to show why we should steer clear of such destructive practices in our country. Why, in parallel to this climate destruction, is our government refusing to engage in the conversation about hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)? Hemp provides solutions – it can help mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon, cleaning and nourishing soil. Hemp is a sustainable resource that can create jobs for our citizens. Why does the Medicines Regulatory Council in Namibia refuse to give out licences to research the cultivation of hemp for biofuel, textiles, animal feed and paper? Why are government ministries actively ignoring this conversation when enoughrelevant evidence has been presented to them?
Why is our government collectively standing in the way of pursuing a hemp industry to tackle climate change and create jobs for our youth when they are employed to serve the well-being of the citizens of Namibia? There are many questions and few answers from those with the power to create change. We need to be asking why, in this time of crisis, is our government violating our human rights and the rights of nature? The newest report from the IPCC paints a troubling picture: Climate change is already impacting every corner of the world, and much more severe impacts are in store if we fail to halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade and immediately scale up adaptation.
Following on from the first instalment of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II's contribution, released on February 28, 2022, draws from 34,000 studies and involved 270 authors from 67 countries. It provides one of the most comprehensive examinations of the intensifying impacts of climate change and future risks, particularly for resource-poor countries and marginalised communities.
The 2022 IPCC report also details which climate adaptation approaches are most effective and feasible, as well as which groups of people and ecosystems are most vulnerable. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the report "an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership." The science is unequivocal – climate change endangers the well-being of people and the planet. Delayed action risks triggering impacts of climate change so catastrophic our world will become unrecognisable. The next few years offer a narrow window to realise a sustainable, livable future for all.Changing course will require immediate, ambitious and concerted efforts to slash emissions, build resilience, conserve ecosystems, and dramatically increase finance for adaptation and addressing loss and damage."Hemp has received extensive attention because of its multipurpose usability, short production cycle, low capital demand in cultivation, possibility of carbon-negative transformation and easy carbon sequestering material.
Research shows hemp as a very promising renewable resource including its potential uses in paper, textiles, composites, biofuel and food industry. Hemp proves competency in the search for new sustainable resources because it is naturally resistant to disease and pests, conserves water. Hemp degrades quickly, and produces environmentally friendly industrial products such as biodiesel, bio-concrete,
bio-composite, paper, textile, and so on. Hemp biofuel could be an excellent alternative to petroleum-based fuel to produce heat
and energy for transport and industrial sectors. In particular cases, it can help decrease the use of cement in building material, which is
responsible for the second most CO2 emission. The crop would be a new door in the paper industry using its advantage of more yield
and more recyclability of hemp paper than wood. The features certainly can slow down the deforestation process.The modern hemp market has a bright future, With the advancement and adaptation of fitting technology, exploitation of the entire physical, chemical and morphological characteristics of hemp can better contribute to a clean, healthy, and sustainable planet." It is time for our Namibian government to clear the way.
It's time for Nature to be our driving force and those of us who are focused on solutions that will benefit our country be given all the tools needed to move them forward.
By: Angela Prusa
Cannabis and Hemp Association of Namibia