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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs