Africa's Adaptation Gap Report

by Developed Africa 13. December 2013 09:00

The UNEP recently published its first look into the problems Africa faces when it comes to adapting to climate change

The report gives an idea of what the future holds for Africa in terms of climate change, as well as the measures that need to be taken. It appears that the out look for Africa in the face of climate change is going to be dire if nothing is done to adapt the continent to prepare for the effects of the climate changing.

With 4°C warming, annual precipitation is projected to decrease by up to 30 percent in southern Africa and by 20 percent in North Africa...

Currently about half of Africa’s land surface can be classified as arid (dry) to hyper-arid (desert). With 4°C warming, this area is projected to increase by 4 percent by 2100...

Ecosystem ranges will potentially shift rapidly as warming increases, with a risk of loss of biodiversity as species may be unable to migrate to keep pace."

However, for each of these statistics, it was noted in the report that with just 2°C warming, the results could be very different. Precipitation in the North of Africa would decrease by 5-20%, and arid land would increase by only 1%. The report then continues to lay out the costs of these changes, as well as the plans that need to be carried out in order to stop such awful statistics to occur in reality. And this gets across the point that work should be done not only to adapt to changes, but to prevent future changes, the future outlook might not be so bad.

The majority of adaptations are water related, whether that is improving water storage capabilities or protection against rising sea-levels. The report also highlights the cost of these adaptations, and whilst developed countries signed  an accord in 1992 to agree to support developing countries through these changes, there is a lot more that needs to be done. As despite the fact they have been providing funds thus far, the report reveals that:

To meet the adaptation costs estimated in this report for Africa by the 2020s, funds disbursed annually would need to grow at an average rate of 10-20% a year from 2011 to the 2020s. There is currently no clear, agreed pathway to provide these resources.

The conclusion of the report is that countries must work hard to ensure that the temperature increase does not goo above a 2°C rise; but not only this, they believe that even if the increase is kept below this rate, funding is nowhere near where it needs to be, and will have to be stepped up. 

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