Africa is already the continent hardest hit by the worldwide food crisis, but according to a new report it’s also the one most threatened by global warming.
“The Atlas for Changing Environment in Africa,” published last week by the United Nations Environment Program, is a 400-page publication detailing how climate change is expected to affect the continent — and the outlook is chilling.
According to the Atlas, food production is expected to drop by half by 2020, and a quarter of the continent’s people will have no access to drinking water.
Much of the Atlas is made up of satellite photos of 100 locations in Africa, showing how climate change has already affected the landscape.
In the photos, the famous snow cover of Mount Kilimanjaro appears to be shrinking, and two vital water sources, Lake Chad and Lake Victoria, appear to be drying up.
“Pictures speak volumes of the impact of pollution, environmental deforestation and biodiversity threat among others,” Andre Okombi Salissa, president of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment, told Al Jazeera.
In a U.N. report, Ogunlade Davidson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted, “Africa only emits 3.8 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, but will suffer the most from the climate threat, so it needs to ensure that its voice is heard.”
“Africa is one of the continents least responsible for climate change and is also least able to afford the costs of adaptation,” South African Environment Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk told the Los Angeles Times. “Africa will remain vulnerable even if, globally, emissions peak and decline in the next 10 to 15 years.”
“One Voice On Climate Change”
U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 12, 2008
“Atlas charts Africa climate change”
Al Jazeera, June 11, 2008
“African landmarks at threat from global warming: UN”
Agence France-Presse, June 10, 2008
“Africa most vulnerable to global warming effects, U.N. says”
Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2008