WMO: Impacts of climate change felt disproportionately in Africa

climate change
climate change

Climate change is exacerbating the hunger crisis in Africa with rising temperatures, more extreme weather and changes in rainfall driving people from their homes.

“Changing precipitation patterns, rising temperatures and more extreme weather contributed to mounting food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa in 2020, compounding the socio-economic and health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the African Union and other partners in Geneva.

The continent has been disproportionately affected with floods, droughts and landslides, the report published on Tuesday said.

“The rapid shrinking of the last remaining glaciers in eastern Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of imminent and irreversible change to the Earth system,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said.

The development underlines the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, do more to protect the climate and allocate more money to adaptation processes, Taalas said, just over a week before the World Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

Global warming and its consequences are being felt more strongly in Africa than the global average, the report says.

The year 2020 was one of the 10 warmest since measurements began.

Sea-level rise on Africa’s southern coasts is above the global average, as is glacier retreat in the three glacier regions of the Mount Kenya massif in Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda.

The Mount Kenya massif is expected to become one of the first mountain ranges in the world to lose its glacier altogether in the 2030s, the report said. The other two could do so in the 2040s if the trends continue unabated.

The consequences of climate change are coupled with pest outbreaks, economic collapses, ongoing conflict and political instability, and the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it said. Millions of people would be driven into extreme poverty.

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