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 Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs