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Scientists, Artists, Engineers Discuss Climate Change


A gathering of scientists, artists and engineers met recently in London to discuss ways of helping Africa deal with the effects of global warming. VOA's Mandy Clark reports from London.

The message of climate change through the medium of music. It may seem an unlikely way to deal with an issue that many scientists say is set to devastate large regions of the world, especially Africa.

Yet, Ghanaian actress Madam Adelina Ama Boabeng says artists are key to spreading the word about global warming. "You ask rural African people about climate change and I'm sure they have no idea at all about what is happening. I think that somebody has to carry that message to the rural folk, someone has to explain it to them in a language that they understand, in a medium that they will understand and relate with and I think that is where the artist comes in."

Julian Hunt is professor of Climate Modeling at University College London. He set out what he believes Africa will face in the coming years.

"The computer models for the next half century and century show progressively rising temperatures,” he says, “which will have a very big impact because already there are countries in Africa that are very hot and quite close to the limits where life and vegetation are adversely affected by higher temperatures."

Hunt also warned of a rise in extreme weather patterns, with increased flooding in some regions and severe drought in others. He says, of all the continents, Africa has benefited the least from the causes of climate change, but stands to be damaged the most.

The Ghana High Commissioner to Britain, Annan Cato, says he is frustrated that powerful nations are not seriously tackling the issue. "Those who have contributed the most to global warming seem not to want to take responsibility for what they have done."

To illustrate the impact of greenhouse gases, photographer Nick Cobbing captured the melting of Greenland's iceberg. Artist Roumouald Hazoume used gas canisters in the shape of a slaving boat to represent how pollution is now the continent's new master. Engineers and designers mapped out how they could help curb carbon emissions.

Architect Elsie Owusu says her community has an important role to play in the fight against global warming. "We can look at sustainable design. We can look at reusable energy. We can look at solar power. We can look at how much water is used and the recycling of water. And these are all problems which architects, not on their own but with the help of engineers, landscape designers and the whole design team, can work on together."

That message of working together was echoed widely at the conference. And many say it is the solution to Africa's climate crisis.