Monday, November 19, 2007

The IPCC on Climate Change in Africa

A draft copy of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report Summary for Policy Makers, released 16 Nov 2007, highlights Africa's vulnerability to climatic changes:

From 1900 to 2005, precipitation increased significantly in eastern parts of North and South America, northern Europe and northern and central Asia but declined in the Sahel, the Mediterranean, southern Africa and parts of southern Asia. Globally, the area affected by drought has likely increased since the 1970s.

There is also high confidence that many semi-arid areas (e.g. Mediterranean basin, western United States, southern Africa and northeast Brazil) will suffer a decrease in water resources due to climate change.

In Africa:
• By 2020, between 75 and 250 million of people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change;
• By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition;
• Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large populations. The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5-10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP);
• By 2080, an increase of 5-8% of arid and semi-arid land in Africa is projected under a range of climate scenarios (TS).

Some systems, sectors and regions are likely to be especially affected by climate change:
Africa, because of low adaptive capacity and projected climate change impacts

African megadeltas, due to large populations and high exposure to sea level rise, storm surges and river flooding.

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