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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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