Part 2: Issues in Sustainable Development



Climate change is a major threat to atmospheric resources and is resulting in climatic variations that have effects at multiple scales – temporal and spatial. Climate change is closely linked to global patterns of energy consumption and production. Poor natural resource management intensifies the impact of climate change. Several factors, including an over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture and the high incidence of poverty, make Africa’s people particularly vulnerable to climate variability. (AEO 2, Chapter 2: Atmosphere, page 58)

Main Idea

Changing behavior and practices to endure climate change

Key Concepts

      • Greenhouse gases
      • Regional effects of global warming


Knowledge of

      • global warming, carbon dioxide emissions, and expected effects of climate change
      • the negative forecast for food production in Africa

Understanding of

      • how to mitigate the causes and impacts of climate change
      • the predicted effects of climate change

Ability to

      • describe problems facing farmers as a result of climate change
      • describe a strategy to cope with climate change that includes irrigation and forestation
      • explain carbon sequestration

Core Readings

  1. Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
    Background on global warming, carbon dioxide emissions, expected effects of climate change, and history of the Kyoto Protocol (4 pages)
  2. Africa Environment Outlook, Chapter 2: “Atmosphere,” pages 58-74 Mitigating the causes and impacts of climate change (7 pages of overview followed by 2 pages for each Africa sub-region)
  3. Climate Change and Agriculture
    Predicted effects of climate change; includes negative forecast for production in tropical areas and worldwide food production (4 pages) 

Sustainability Strategies

  1. Coping with Less Rain in Burkina Faso
    Description of problems facing farmers as a result of climate change and a national strategy to cope which includes irrigation projects and forestation
    (4 pages)
  2. Soil Carbon Sequestration
    Generally positive evaluation of whether this is a useful approach (2 pages)

Supplemental Readings

  1. Climate Change and Africa
    Africa contributes relatively little to global greenhouse gas emissions; benefits from Kyoto; main issue is change in range of tropical diseases
    (2 pages)
  2. Air Pollution Global Overview
    Summary of air pollution and air quality issues (3 pages)
  3. Forests and Climate Change
    Summarizes role of forests as carbon sinks (4 pages)
  4. Climate Change and Extreme Events in 2005
    Evidence of increasing occurrence of extreme events, in accordance with predictions related to effects of climate change (4 pages)
  5. Science of Climate Change for Policymakers
    Data and analysis of evidence supporting the occurrence of anthropogenic climate change (17 pages)
  6. Climate-HIV
    Interesting example of issue interrelationships, though readers may find claimed relationship somewhat strained (19 pages)
  7. UN FAQ on Climate Change and Kyoto
    Gives scientific consensus on climate change and details about how Kyoto tradable emissions work (5 pages)

Assignment Questions

  1. Interconnections: Climate & Agriculture: Describe the effects of climate change on agriculture in African regions.
  2. Climate: List some of the necessary mitigation strategies for coping with climate change recommended in the African Environment Outlook reading. Explain those that are particularly relevant to your local region.
  3. Climate: What are greenhouse gases? What role does carbon dioxide play in the greenhouse effect? How do scientists predict the global climate will be affected as a result?