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Warmer Malawi

December 28, 2009

Felt another earthquake tremor this morning – Lake Malawi is firmly lodged in the geologically active Rift Valley. In parts the bottom of the lake is nearly 800 metres below sea-level. It’s fed by more than 600 rivers, but only one, the Shire River, flows out of the lake. Climate change is heating the water, reducing turnover of upper and lower levels in the lake, which may affect fisheries. But otherwise Malawi seems to be benefiting from climate change. While East Africa has been experiencing langer and more severe droughts, Malawi is seeing better rains and an increase in crop yields.

I talked to one of the country’s climate change negotiators who’s just returned from Copenhagen, today, who is of the opinion that the US sabotaged the talks, but that after the US climate and energy bill passes (by June), Team America will commit to emissions cuts. I asked him how he can be so optimistic. “Is there a choice?” he replied, deadpan.

I’ll be sorry to leave the lake and its friendly, laid back people, but tomorrow we’re heading down to Mozambique – another country, language and currency: our 7th in Africa (17th on this journey!).

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