UN warns over 100m at risk in Africa from climate change
More than 100 million extremely poor people in Africa are threatened by accelerating climate change that could also melt away the continent's few glaciers within two decades, a United Nations report warned yesterday.
In a report ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the UN highlighted Africa's "disproportionate vulnerability" last year from food insecurity, poverty and population displacement.
"By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa, if adequate response measures are not put in place," said Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, commissioner for rural economy and agriculture at the African Union Commission.
The extremely poor are those who live on less than US$1.90 per day, according to the report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization.
"In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross domestic product by up to 3 percent by 2050," Sacko said in the foreword to the report.
"Not only are physical conditions getting worse, but also the number of people being affected is increasing."
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said last year Africa saw temperatures continue to rise, "accelerating sea-level rise," as well as extreme weather events like floods, landslides and droughts, all indicators of climate change.
"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," Taalas said.
Last year, Africa's land mass and waters warmed more rapidly than the world average, the report said. The 30-year warming trend from 1991-2020 was above that of the 1961-1990 period in all of Africa's regions and "significantly higher" than for the 1931-1960 trend.