How Climate Change Is Already Affecting Africa
Africa is one of the world’s most susceptible continents to climate change. According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2015, Africa is home to seven of the 10 nations most vulnerable to climate change. Rainfall in significant sections of the Sahel and Southern Africa has decreased, whereas it has increased in regions of Central Africa. Over the last quarter-century, the incidence of weather-related catastrophes such as floods and droughts has increased, leaving Africa with the worst drought-related death rate of any area.
According to United Nations research, access to water may be the single most significant source of strife and bloodshed in Africa during the next 25 years. These conflicts are more likely to occur in nations with shared rivers or lakes.
Climate change consequences can intensify national security concerns and contribute to escalating international conflicts. Conflicts can arise over the exploitation of scarce natural resources such as fertile land and water. Many parts of Africa place a high priority on having access to reliable water supplies. Changes in the time and intensity of rainfall, on the other hand, have jeopardized water supplies and exacerbated conflict over this finite resource.
Severe floods and prolonged droughts have destroyed many houses, shelters, and settlements throughout Africa. Conflicts over resources compound these effects, contributing to the continent’s continual migration within and across nations. Extreme occurrences displace significant numbers of people, particularly those who lack the means necessary to react to and rebuild following catastrophes.
Climate change has serious health consequences. Rainfall changes will affect the prevalence and absence of vector- and water-borne diseases. For example, modest changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to increase the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes, resulting in a rise in malaria outbreaks. Increased floods may make it easier for these malaria vectors to reproduce in formerly dry locations. Many communities’ incapacity will worsen these issues to deal with growing sickness.
In many African metropolitan communities, population growth has overtaken municipal authorities’ ability to offer civic amenities such as sanitation and other health care delivery. If settlement conglomerations proposed for West Africa and South Africa’s eastern shore emerge, vulnerable people would spread over whole regions, not simply isolated pockets.
The majority of Africa’s agriculture is rain-fed. Consequently, it is very susceptible to climatic variability, seasonal patterns, and precipitation patterns. Any temperature rise will increase water stress. Around 70 percent of the population subsists on agriculture, and agricultural goods account for 40 percent of total exports. Agriculture generates one-third of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Crop and livestock output make for almost half of family income. The most impoverished people of society rely on agriculture for employment and money.
According to the African Climate Policy Centre, a global temperature rise will result in a considerable fall in the GDP of the five African subregions. Global temperatures are anticipated to rise by between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, resulting in a 2.25 percent to 12.12 percent decline in the continent’s total GDP. Africa’s western, central, and eastern regions are more adversely affected than Africa’s southern and northern regions.
Africa accounts for around one-fifth of the world’s land area and has approximately one-fifth of all known plant, mammalian, and avian species, as well as one-sixth of amphibians and reptiles. Climate change has already affected Africa’s aquatic creatures. Coral reefs in the Indian Ocean underwent widespread bleaching in 1998, with some locations seeing over 50 percent mortality. Coral reef degradation has far-reaching consequences for fisheries, food security, tourism, and marine biodiversity in general. Savannas and tropical forests on land dominate Africa’s animal richness. Climate change-induced loss or modification of terrestrial ecosystems will very certainly affect these species.