News / Africa

Africa’s High Cost of Adapting to Climate Change

Protesters march during a climate change rally outside a climate change summit held in the city of Durban, South Africa, Friday, Dec 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Protesters march during a climate change rally outside a climate change summit held in the city of Durban, South Africa, Friday, Dec 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Joe DeCapua

Africa is being called the continent most vulnerable to climate change. A report commissioned by the African Development Bank says if the continent does not adapt it may be unable to meet its future food security needs. The report was released at the U.N. climate change conference in Durban, South Africa.

Economist John Ward said there are several reasons why Africa is more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change than other regions.

“First of all there’s physical exposure to the effects of climate change. How much warmer it will get? What changes in precipitation you might expect? And there there’s good evidence to suggest that just by sheer bad luck, if you like, Africa’s physical exposure to climate change is quite acute and with some really quite serious temperature increases predicted well above the global average,” he said.

Ward, director at Vivid Economics, said up to 50 percent of Africa’s population live in countries that are most exposed to the physical impacts of climate change.

“Africa faces some pretty severe challenges largely because its economy is so heavily centered around agriculture, which is well known to be particularly sensitive to variation in climate change,” he said.

A third factor making the continent vulnerable is its poor capacity to adapt.

“The abilities of countries in Africa to respond to the changing climate with a degree of flexibility to create new opportunities. And again, here, Africa seems to be particularly badly exposed. Some of the factors you kind of think about there are literacy rates and the standards of health provision in a country. And again, Africa, unfortunately, tends to do pretty badly against many of those indicators,” he said.

A lot of money over many years

The report estimates it will cost between $20 and $30 billion a year for the next 10 to 20 years for Africa to adapt to climate change. It says this money is over and above funds already being spent to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Innovative funding methods are being considered, but Ward admitted it’s difficult to reach agreement in these tough economic times.

The immediate priority, he said, is to improve health and education systems and strengthen water and sanitation infrastructure.

The continent is being looked upon to produce a great deal more food over the coming decades to help meet global demand. It’s estimated the world population will grow to 9 billion by 2050.

“Some of the analyses that we looked at suggested that without responding to the challenge of climate change and adapting to the problems that climate change will bring then agricultural yields in certain African countries could fall by more than 10 to 20 percent, that sort of region. And so if you factor that into the challenges already created by Africa’s growing population, then clearly it becomes an absolutely critical issue to deal with,” he said.

The economist added that poverty can only make the effects of climate change worse. He said a climate change disaster would cause twice as much economic damage in a poor country as it would in a middle income country.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More