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The Increasing Threats of Climate Change in a Complicated Continent

Anthropogenic climate change is already a reality in Africa, as it is elsewhere in the world. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says; Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to climate change.

Climate change is the long-term alteration in Earth’s climate and weather patterns.

Africa is a huge continent with a wide variety of landscapes and climates, from the dry, hot desert climate found in the northern countries in the Sahara desert to the tropical rainforests toward the centre of the continent and the subarctic climates found in mountainous regions in southern Africa.

Given Africa’s geographical position, the continent will be particularly vulnerable due to the considerably limited adaptive capacity, and exacerbated by widespread poverty. Climate change is a particular threat to continued economic growth and to the livelihoods of vulnerable populations.

A race against time

The continent has been dealing with the impacts of climate change since the 1970s. The impacts of climate change are being experienced now, rather than something that may happen at some point in the future, according to a number of high level reports in recent years, the Guardian noted.

The negative effects of climate change in Africa are both because of the expected change itself and because of the perceived lack of capacity of Africans and their governments to adapt.

The real climate change

Climate Change Vulnerability Index for 2015 indicated that, seven of the ten countries most at risk from climate change are in Africa. Africa has seen a decrease in rainfall over large parts of the Sahel and Southern Africa, and an increase in parts of Central Africa. While, West Africa has been identified as a climate-change hotspot, with climate change likely to lessen crop yields and production, with resultant impacts on food security.

The continent’s wildlife, wild lands, and its rural communities bear the brunt of climate change. Even though the continent consumes a tiny fraction of the world’s fossil fuels, Africa’s vast ecological wealth and unique natural ecosystems are especially susceptible to shifts in weather patterns.

African slum dwellers are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of rapid urbanization and global climate change. Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

Desertification has been described as “the greatest environmental challenge of our time” and climate change is making it worse.

While the term may bring to mind the windswept sand dunes of the Sahara or the vast salt pans of the Kalahari, it’s an issue that reaches far beyond those living in and around the world’s deserts, threatening the food security and livelihoods of more than two billion people.

The Horn of Africa, one of the world’s most impoverished regions, is being ransacked by billions of tiny invaders. Irregular weather and climate condition in 2019, including heavy rain between October and December have suspected to have contributed to the spread of locust in the region.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the cropping season. A second infestation of locusts has taken flight in May 2020, and experts fear a third could arrive during the year’s most crucial harvest, causing calamitous food shortages.

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