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Climate change is a threat to Africa’s transport systems: What Should be done

Railway bridge over the river on the border with Tanzania. Credit: vladimirat/Shutterstock Transportation infrastructure, such as roads and railway systems, is one of the sectors most threatened by climate change. Extreme weather events—such as flooding, sea level rises and storm surges—repeatedly wreak havoc on transport networks. In Africa, extreme weather is a threat that can…

Climate change is a threat to Africa's transport systems: what must be done
Railway bridge across the lake on the border with Tanzania. Credit: vladimirat/Shutterstock

Transportation infrastructure, like roads and railroad systems, is among the sectors threatened by climate change. Extreme weather events–such as flood, sea level rises and storm surges–repeatedly wreak havoc on both transport networks.

In Africa, intense weather is a danger that may lead to structural damage. It can also accelerate the aging of infrastructure components. This can lead to considerable monetary losses.

For example, a recent report on Tanzania discovered the vulnerability of the country’s transport systems. Long stretches of road and railroad networks are vulnerable to extreme flooding events, with growing exposure in the future.

The analysis estimated that worst-case disruptions into Tanzania’s multi-modal could cause reductions of up to US$1.4 million per day. Additionally, damage to such networks can interrupt the flow of goods and people, thus lowering economic productivity.

This implies that authorities have to ensure that transport infrastructure is designed together with the ability to cope with present and future climatic shifts.

Fortunately a great way to”-proof” transportation infrastructure already exists within the planning machinery of authorities. In our recent job , that investigated the Standard Gauge Rail in Tanzania, we show how and adaptation capabilities can be incorporated in ecological impact procedures.

Environmental impact assessment is a prevalent ecological guard. It is used by governments, donors and lending agencies when approving new development projects or significant expansions to existing ones. The process may be employed to discover climate risks and be certain they are minimized through environmentally sound project layout.

Transport infrastructure is crucial to developing countries because efficient and dependable transport networks are crucial for local and international trade. We expect that, with a changing climate, our findings offer useful lessons for policymakers, planners and programmers.

Checking for risks

Environmental impact assessment is the vital process of identifying, predicting and assessing the likely environmental impacts of a proposed development activity, both positive and negative. These are dangers to the job, and dangers to the natural environment from the undertaking.

The evaluation is intended to happen before significant decisions are taken and commitments made. Developers, both private and public, frequently commission registered environmental specialists to execute the study.

Virtually every country has some kind of legislation which needs an environmental impact assessment. These are carried out on particular development projects, especially those planning to have significant effects on the environment. This frequently includes major transport infrastructure.

The analysis culminates in a set of recommendations and observations, which labs and developers are intended to take on board. Legislation normally provides for followups on whether they were. In nations with strong institutional frameworks, violators frequently face fines, suspension of operations as well as jail time.

Because the assessment needs to be completed for important projects, it offers a highly efficient and direct way to include adaptation steps.

Tanzania’s railroad

This is what occurred for Tanzania’s Standard Gauge Railway.

The railway, a US$14.2 billion investment by the Tanzanian government, is currently under construction. It is a part of this “central corridor” linking Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It will also provide access to the Indian ocean. The authorities contracted a Turkish company, Yapi Merkezi, to design and construct the project’s first phase, traversing about 541km) Work began in 2017.

Because it’s vulnerable to climate change–there are certain concerns over heavy floods and landslides–that the ecological impact assessment has tried to prepare the project for potential climate risks.

The assessment was conducted by a multidisciplinary team under an global consulting company, Environmental Resources Management. They completed climate forecasts along the proposed path and outlined adaptation steps for the projected risks.

Recommendations included using heat-resistant asphalt, installing flood defence walls and utilizing reinforced steel. They also suggested a monitoring program which summarized key monitoring aspects, indicators, responsible parties and timing.

Climate change issues aren’t explicitly prescribed by Tanzanian environmental impact assessment law and regulations. The drive to execute the evaluation was a result of stress from climate-sensitive international lenders. It remains to be seen if the recommendations are employed throughout construction and next project phases.

Our study demonstrates the massive potential of ecological impact assessments to boost adaptation in transport projects. It is reasonable. Most African nations lack the required resources to put money into standalone adaptation jobs.

Roadblocks to remove

Even though integrating climate change adaptation into an is a very simple measure, it’s not being done.

This is due to several chal

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