MDC Alliance legislator Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza yesterday shocked Environment Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu and fellow MPs when he said he together with the people of Binga South who he represent view climate change as a myth which has “no practical effect especially on a third world country like Zimbabwe”.
Gabbuza was responding to a report by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on, Environment, Climate and Tourism on the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
The Montreal Protocol is aimed at the protection of atmosphere from pollutants that deplete the ozone layer and cause climate change. Climate change is the leading explanation behind major droughts, changing weather patterns, famines, natural hazards such as cyclones and other phenomena.
The Binga South legislator said the Montreal Protocol was just “one of the protocols that we are just called, invited, we sign and we go home”.
“These are some of the protocols we just enter into without scientific backing or scientific evidence or research.
“We just hear what other scientist have researched the Americans, the British, they tell us about global warming and our own background scientist have no evidence and have no capacity to verify what they are just reading in textbooks,” Gabuzza said.
The Binga South MP said talk about climate change sounds like the Jatropha and Zvihuta craze that hit Zimbabwe years ago only for people to realize it was hot air and not backed by science and research.
“I will give you some examples, what happened to Jatropha. The whole country was running around about growing Jatropha, some people even shared their own farms to grow Jatropha. What happened is that we have not seen any diesel coming out of Jatropha.
“Remember in the 1980s there was fungal tea everyone was drinking fungal tea. Everyone was drinking fungal tea and everyone was saying a lot that it treats cancer and all these other diseases but where were our scientists to tell the world that this thing does not work because there is no evidence to scientifically justify it.
“Zvihuta (quail birds), I do not know what other name was used in English but everyone was raising zvihuta and eating them. We were told that they treat cancer, and the eggs are very important.
“The Israelites and the children of Moses when they were moving to Israel ate them and everyone was healed and our scientists were quiet,” said Gabuzza.
“I am sure almost 90% of the farmers in this country were busy growing zvihuta but after that nothing happened and it just quietly died just because our scientists are not doing their job. We are not capacitating our research institutions who would have told us long back that these things do not work.
“I can go on and on, the question I am trying to raise with the Minister is do we have evidence that there is global warming in this country?”
Gabuzza further claimed Zimbabwean scientists were not capable of measuring the amount of carbon dioxide which is in the atmosphere. However, pupils at O Level even carry out experiments to determine the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“We do not have that evidence and we just say the world is warming? It is called global warming in America but are we sure it is warming in a country like Zimbabwe when we have not measured anything?
“To me as a representative of the people of my area, I do not think these climate change protocol affects anything other than just join the bandwagon like all other nations.
“I just wanted to raise these issues. They may not be popular but that is what I think is in position.”
In his response, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu said climate change was a scientifically proven phenomena and most Zimbabweans see it as such.
“Hon. Gabbuza’s view is that this is not scientifically based and that there is no evidence of both global warming and climate change in Zimbabwe.
“I do not know if there are many Zimbabweans who still believe that climate change is a myth,” Minister Ndlovu said.
He added: “It is therefore important that we are part of the global discourse that seeks to address the contribution to these adverse climate conditions.
“When you look at the global temperatures over the last 100 years, they have increased by close to 2ºC, which is quite worrying. However, following the efforts of the Montreal Protocol dating back as from the 70s as has been highlighted, there is clear evidence that there is now repair of the ozone which had been depleted.
“It is only right as a country that we move together with such progressive nations to protect our ozone and eventually we will be able to deal with climate change related issues.”
The Minister said Government worked in collaboration with local scientists who give policy makers empirical evidence that is used to make decisions such as participating in the Montreal Protocol.
“We are soon to receive 20 automatic weather stations from institutions and countries that are in support of these protocols because the responsibility of protecting our climate is faced by us all, including Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Minister said to that end, Zimbabwean refrigerator manufacturer Capri has received more than US$400 000 to migrate into technologies that are friendly to the ozone layer as well as to the climate.
“They are not closing but we have facilitated that they acquire technologies that are friendly to the ozone layer and they have migrated smoothly.
“No one can say today that they cannot find a Capri refrigerator. We have been able to get that support,” he said.
He added that Zimbabwe has not been a bystander but actively interacts with other nations on issues of climate change and ozone layer depletion.
Zimbabwe ratified the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol in 1992 binding the country to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of ozone depleting substances. — Zimbabwe Voice