14 of the 20 most at risk nations of climate change distresses are African countries. These countries are considered as so susceptible due to the vulnerability of the population as well as the continent’s liability to extreme climate events.
Specifically, these African nations tend to experience extreme losses due to droughts, floods, fires, storms and landslides. Additionally, weak economies, governance, education and healthcare systems make it difficult to tackle or adapt to these problems.
Over 200 governments agree that global warming will exceed 2 degrees Celsius, causing much devastation and hardship, especially in Africa.
For instance, sea-level rise along Africa’s coastline is expected to be 10 percent higher than in the rest of the world, and in Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Gambia, up to 10 percent of the population would be at risk of floods each year by 2100.
The cost involved to address this looming danger amounts to billions.
According to the United Nations, adaptation costs faced by Africa range from $7 billion to $15 billion annually by 2020. Moreover, that amount could increase to $350 billion annually by 2070.
Some of the adaptation projects include developing drought-resistant crops, building early warning systems, investing in renewable energy sources, producing better drainage, building sea walls and prioritizing reforestation and desalinization.
According to the World Bank, there is a 40 percent chance of temperatures rising by 3.5 to 4 degrees Celsius if these types of climate change mitigation efforts are not stepped up.
Adaptation measures could, in fact, decrease the impacts of climate change in Africa.
Currently, projections for Africa are grim, even without the 2 degrees Celsius warming. Undernourished Africans are likely to increase by 25 percent to 90 percent, crop production will be reduced as arid areas are expected to increase by four percent, protein needs for over 60 percent of the communities would be jeopardized as fish will decline in African freshwater lakes and the necessary infrastructure for African communities to cope with climate impacts is inadequate. These effects will result in an increase of premature deaths, a rise in healthcare concerns and a decrease in food production.
The adaptation costs required to address the global temperature rise could reach four percent of Africa’s GDP by 2100. Therefore, additional funding is imperative if Africa is to move towards a climate-resilient life saving path. To meet this need, annual funds would need to grow at an average rate of 10 percent to 20 percent per year from 2011 to the 2020’s.
– Caressa Kruth