Although it is one of the least polluting countries, The Gambia is nevertheless very vulnerable to climate change.
According to a study conducted by the NGO Climate Action Tracker (CAT), The Gambia is one of the countries most committed to the fight against climate change. According to the report, this West African country, landlocked in Senegal and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, is the one that best respects the commitments of the Paris Agreement in terms of reducing CO2 emissions with a view to achieve global warming of 1.5°C by 2030.
But despite its efforts to fight against global warming, The Gambia is very threatened. Its capital, Banjul, could be flooded if nothing is done.
The country’s authorities have been sounding the alarm for years. A Gambian delegation traveled to Scotland last year at the opening of COP26 in Glasgow to call on wealthy countries to meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate change is a major problem in The Gambia and the situation is only getting worse. And it shows: if you walk along the coast, you will see the consequences of coastal erosion”, lamented Boubou Pathé Diallo who was one of The Gambia’s negotiators, meteorologist and climate change specialist.
Several actions are currently being carried out by the authorities to curb this rising water level which is gradually eating away at the coast. Thousands of coconut trees are planted on the beaches, and also several rocks are piled along the hotel complexes, to fight against the erosion of the beaches.
“We are planting 6,000 trees including 5,000 coconut trees along the coast of Banjul to protect the city from rising waters. Because according to the predictions of scientists, Banjul could be invaded by water around 2080, so the only way to protect it is to plant these trees on the coast,” explains Pamadu Lowe, an employee of the gardening department of the municipality of Banjul.
Several crops, such as rice fields, are already threatened by this rising sea. This is the case along the border with Senegal, in the south of The Gambia, where the ocean is advancing inexorably.
Even if The Gambia is considered one of the least polluting countries, with a tiny carbon footprint: barely 0.01%, far from 28% in China or 14% in the United States, it remains paradoxically one countries most vulnerable to climate change.
“Banjul [Capital of The Gambia] is located at sea level, it is an island surrounded by water, which makes it particularly vulnerable. Banjul can disappear. That is why, I call on the great powers to help, because they are part of the problem and therefore they must be part of the solution, because we want Banjul to be here for the next 100 years and we will not do it alone”, pleaded Rohey Malick Lowe, the mayor of the city.
The Gambia plans to halve its CO2 emissions from rice cultivation and livestock farming by 2030. The Gambia also aims to reduce food waste and launch reforestation and wind farm projects.