Climate Change: Eight facts on Africa from IPCC report

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The UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his first reaction to the Working Group II report said: “I’ve seen many reports, but nothing like the new IPCC climate report, an atlas of human suffering and damning indictment of failed climate leadership. I know people everywhere are anxious and angry. I am, too.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] on Monday, February 28, 2022, launched its second installment of the Sixth Assessment Report to provide insights on the causes, impacts, and solutions for climate change.

The report reiterated the need for collective action to save the earth from impending dangers associated with a rise in global temperature.

Despite Africa being among the least emitter of greenhouse gas, it has been plunged into a state of drought, famine, an outbreak of pests and disease, water scarcity, and irregular rainfall patterns, etc.

Forever Product

Chapter 9 of the WGII report focused solely on Africa and presented these facts on the loss and damages.

Ecosystem

African biodiversity loss is projected to be widespread and escalating with every 0.5°C increase above present-day global warming (high confidence). Above 1.5°C, half of the assessed species are projected to lose over 30% of their population or area of suitable habitat. At 2°C, 7–18% of species assessed are at risk of extinction, and over 90% of East African coral reefs are projected to be severely degraded by bleaching. {ES-Ch9; 9.6}

Food

In Africa, agricultural productivity growth has been reduced by 34% since 1961 due to climate change, more than in any other region. Future warming will negatively affect food systems in Africa by shortening growing seasons and increasing water stress (high confidence). Global warming above 2°C will result in yield reductions for staple crops across most of Africa compared to 2005 yields. Climate change poses a significant threat to African marine and freshwater fisheries (high confidence).

Under 1.7°C global warming, reduced fish harvests could leave 1.2–70 million people in Africa vulnerable to iron deficiencies, up to 188 million for vitamin A deficiencies, and 285 million for vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids by mid-century. {ES-Ch9; 9.4; 9.8}

Water

Water Recent extreme variability in rainfall and river discharge across Africa have had largely negative and multi-sector impacts across water-dependent sectors (high confidence). Projected changes present heightened cross-cutting risks to water-dependent sectors, and require planning under deep uncertainty for the wide range of extremes expected in the future (high confidence). {ES-Ch9; 9.7}

Cities and Settlements

Exposure of people, assets, and infrastructure to climate hazards is increasing in Africa compounded by rapid urbanisation, infrastructure deficit, and growing population in informal settlements (high confidence). High population growth and urbanisation in low-elevation coastal zones will be a major driver of exposure to sea-level rise in the next 50 years (high confidence). By 2030, 108–116 million people will be exposed to sea-level rise in Africa (compared to 54 million in 2000), increasing to 190–245 million by 2060.

Under relatively low population growth scenarios, the sensitive population (people under 5 or over 64 years old) exposed to heatwaves of at least 15 days above 42℃ in African cities is projected to increase from around 27 million in 2010 to 360 million by 2100 for 1.8℃ global warming and 440 million for >4℃ global warming. {ES-Ch9; 9.9}

Economy

Climate change has reduced economic growth across Africa, increasing income inequality between African countries and those in temperate, Northern Hemisphere climates (high confidence). Across nearly all African countries, GDP per capita is projected to be at least 5% higher by 2050 and 10–20% higher by 2100 if global warming is held to 1.5°C versus 2°C. {ES-Ch9; 9.6; 9.11}

Heritage

African cultural heritage is already at risk from climate hazards, including sea-level rise and coastal erosion and most African heritage sites are neither prepared for nor adapted to, future climate change (high confidence). {ES-Ch9; 9.12}

Health

Mortality and morbidity will escalate with further global warming, placing additional strain on health and economic systems (high confidence). At 1.5°C of global warming, distribution and seasonal transmission of vector-borne diseases are expected to increase, exposing tens of millions more people, mostly in East and Southern Africa (high confidence).

Above 1.5°C global warming, the risk of heat-related deaths rises sharply(high confidence), with at least 15 additional deaths per 100,000 annually across large parts of Africa. {ES-Ch9; 9.10}

Migration

Most climate-related migration in Africa occurred within countries or between neighbouring countries (high confidence). Over 2.6 million and 3.4 million new weather-related displacements occurred in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 and 2019. Climate change is projected to increase migration (high agreement, medium evidence).

With 1.7°C global warming by 2050, 17–40 million people could migrate internally in sub-Saharan Africa, increasing to 56–86 million for 2.5°C (>60% in West Africa) {ESCh9; Box 9.8}

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