Global warming threatens more than 100 million people in Africa: UN

2021-10-19 19:11:27
Global warming threatens more than 100 million people in Africa: UN

A UN report warned on Tuesday that over 100 million people in Africa are threatened by accelerating global warming due to climate change that could also melt away the continent's few glaciers within two decades.

The latest report on the state of Africa's climate by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and African Union agencies paints a dire picture of the continent's ability to adapt to increasingly frequent weather disasters.

"By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa, if adequate response measures are not put in place," said Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, commissioner for rural economy and agriculture at the African Union Commission.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross domestic product by up to three percent by 2050," Sacko said in the foreword to the report.

The report says last year was Africa's third warmest on record, according to one set of data, 0.86 degrees Celsius above the average in the three decades leading to 2010. It has mostly warmed slower than high-latitude temperate zones, but the impact is still devastating.

Last year, Africa's land mass and waters warmed more rapidly than the world average, the report said.

The 30-year warming trend from 1991-2020 was above that of the 1961-1990 period in all of Africa's regions and "significantly higher" than for the trend for 1931-1960.

Africa, which accounts for less than 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, has long been expected to be severely impacted by climate change. Its croplands are already drought-prone, many of its major cities hug the coast, and widespread poverty makes it harder for people to adapt.

Africa's glaciers have high tourism and scientific value and yet are retreating at a rate higher than the global average.

The other glaciers in Africa are on the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

To avoid even higher costs of disaster relief, the WMO urged African countries to invest in "hydrometeorological infrastructure and early warning systems to prepare for escalating high-impact hazardous events."

It backed broadening access to early warning systems and to information on food prices and weather, including with simple text or voice messages informing farmers when to plant, irrigate or fertilise.

News agencies


Error! Error occured!