Global warming: severe consequences for Africa

Global warming

Global warming: severe consequences for Africa

One of the repercussions of climate change has been identified as global warming. We have gotten to the stage where we take the earth for granted. The more we ignore the effects of global warming on the world as we know it, the more its effect. Although Africa accounted for 3.9 percent of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industries in 2021. The continent’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions has ranged between 3.4 percent and 3.9 percent during the last two decades, the least percentage among the world regions. Nonetheless, the continent is more susceptible to the effect of global warming.


Africa is said to be the second biggest continent following Asia, with a land area going beyond 30 million km2. Global warming is without a doubt one of the most serious ecological and societal issues of the twenty-first century. It has been apparent that Africa started feeling the impacts of global warming in the early 1970s, which has resulted in a slew of new and peculiar events such as increasing temperatures, poor agricultural yield, adverse weather conditions, and disease spread, to name a few. The consequence of global warming is deeply felt.


What is global warming?


When there are alterations that go beyond the usual variance of temperatures on land and in the sea, as well as aberrant tendencies in season timing, weather patterns, and numerous other factors, as we are seeing. Then, without a doubt, these unusual changes are a consequence of global warming induced by a rising greenhouse effect generated by the massive volumes of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere by our activities. Greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations have been continuously growing since the Industrial Revolution as a result of human activity, particularly the combustion of fossil fuels and changes in land use, contributing to increasing global temperatures.


How global warming is affecting Africa?


There’s no denying that Africa is warming more rapidly than the other parts of the world. Large sections of the continent may be abandoned because of global warming, and Africa’s GDP may fall by 2% because of a 1°C increase in average global temperature, and by 12% as a result of a 4°C increase in temperature.


Global warming consequences on water: Water supply and quality have declined in most parts of Africa, owing primarily to global warming. Water supplies are susceptible and may be severely damaged by global warming, with far-reaching consequences for human communities. According to the IPCC, millions of people in Africa will continue to confront significant water stress because of climate variation and change, as observed in portions of South Africa and Kenya. Global warming is affecting Africa’s availability of water, as it is in many other parts of the world. On average, Africa gets 670 mm of precipitation each year. Yet, both time and space vary significantly.


Global warming consequences on Agriculture: Many African communities, particularly in rural areas, rely on agriculture for a living. Global warming-induced consequences such as rising rainfall magnitude, the intensity and duration of droughts, and floods would have an impact on agriculture, livestock, and fisheries production, deteriorating Africa’s food shortage situation.


Furthermore, a decrease in agricultural output due to global warming-induced happenings not only slows economic development but also exacerbates the state of poverty and establishes new barriers to prosperity, all of which collaborate to negatively impact livelihoods in Africa. According to reports by ECA, global warming has driven the number of hungry people in Sub-Saharan Africa by 45.6% since 2012. In a similar vein global warming would diminish cereal crop yields across the continent by 8 to 13%. Global warming is anticipated to melt what is left of Africa’s glaciers in the coming decades, resulting in food insecurity, poverty, and population displacement. By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP might be cut by up to 3%.


Global warming consequences on biodiversity: Biodiversity is a valuable resource for Africans, particularly in terms of tourism. Given Africa’s reliance on natural resources, many populations are susceptible to biodiversity loss caused by global warming. The effects of global warming on humans will be exacerbated by changes in agriculture, water supply, and disease caused by global warming.


Furthermore, Africa’s animal species are mostly found in savannas and tropical forests. Global warming is anticipated to influence these species due to the loss or changing of terrestrial habitats. Other notable floral regions threatened by global warming are Madagascar, Cameroon’s mountains, and the island-like Afromontane habitats that reach from Ethiopia to South Africa at elevations above 2,000 meters.


Rising temperatures pose specific risks to biodiversity hotspots in the mountains since many of them contain localized plant communities with no way of migrating. A lot of plant species could be damaged.
In terms of temperature, about 1°C of warming has already happened in regions of Africa since 1901, leading to more heat waves and hot days. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to be problems throughout Africa.


Massive wildfires ravaged Northern Africa in 2022, destroying vast forests. As a result, global warming has had an influence on water resources, threatening food security in Africa. Africa’s biodiversity is still declining because of species and habitat extinctions. Between 1950 and 2022, the Sahara Desert expanded at a rate of more than 11,000 Km2/year.


These challenges can no longer be ignored, thus solutions to global warming in Africa include smart land use planning to prevent deforestation, the development of renewable energy, and the limitation of coal-fired power plant growth.


Although African countries have some of the lowest aggregate and per capita global warming emissions on the planet, they are also likely to face some of the most severe repercussions, if necessary, efforts are not implemented. Droughts, starvation, desertification, and population relocation may already be occurring because of these effects. Several African countries prioritize improving access to energy services and enhancing economic welfare in the face of an elevated rate of poverty and starvation while the focus should be on mitigating global warming.

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