Africa's Glaciers Disappear 10/19 06:57
Africa's rare glaciers will disappear in the next two decades because of
climate change, a new report warned Tuesday amid sweeping forecasts of pain for
the continent that contributes least to global warming but will suffer from it
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Africa's rare glaciers will disappear in the next two
decades because of climate change, a new report warned Tuesday amid sweeping
forecasts of pain for the continent that contributes least to global warming
but will suffer from it most.
The report from the World Meteorological Organization and other agencies,
released ahead of the U.N. climate conference in Scotland that starts Oct. 31,
is a grim reminder that Africa's 1.3 billion people remain "extremely
vulnerable" as the continent warms more, and at a faster rate, than the global
average. And yet Africa's 54 countries are responsible for less than 4% of
global greenhouse gas emissions.
The new report seizes on the shrinking glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount
Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda as symbols of the rapid and
widespread changes to come. "Their current retreat rates are higher than the
global average. If this continues, it will lead to total deglaciation by the
2040s," it says.
Massive displacement, hunger and increasing climate shocks such droughts and
flooding are in the future, and yet the lack of climate data in parts of Africa
"is having a major impact" on disaster warnings for millions of people, WMO
Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said at Tuesday's launch.
Estimates of the economic effects of climate change vary across the African
continent, but "in sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross
domestic product by up to 3% by 2050," Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko with the
African Union Commission writes in the report. "Not only are physical
conditions getting worse, but also the number of people being affected is
By 2030, up to 118 million extremely poor people, or those living on less
than $1.90 a day, "will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in
Africa if adequate response measures are not put in place," Sacko adds.
Already, the U.N. has warned that the Indian Ocean island nation of
Madagascar is one where "famine-like conditions have been driven by climate
change." And it says parts of South Sudan are seeing the worst flooding in
almost 60 years.
Despite the threats ahead to the African continent, the voices of Africans
have been less represented than richer regions at global climate meetings and
among the authors of the crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
scientific assessments. African participation in IPCC reports has been
"extremely low," according to Future Climate for Africa, a multi-country
The costs ahead are huge. "Overall, Africa will need investments of over $3
trillion in mitigation and adaptation by 2030 to implement its (national
climate plans), requiring significant, accessible and predictable inflows of
conditional finance," the WMO's Taalas said.
"The cost of adapting to climate change in Africa will rise to $50 billion
per year by 2050, even assuming the international efforts to keep global
warming below 2 degrees Celsius."