Reply To: Global warming forecasts: disasters, diseases

Martin W
    Globally, sea levels are projected to possibly rise three feet by the end of the 21st century as a result of global warming, with three of the five coastal areas in the world projected to be most at risk of flooding are in Africa. In addition, as temperatures rise and enlarge already arid regions, resources were likely to decrease — and human conflict could increase.

    Global warming isn’t just a matter of melting icebergs and polar bears chasing after them. It’s also Lake Chad drying up, the glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro disappearing, increasing extreme weather, conflict and hungry people throughout Africa.

    According to a landmark effort to assess the risks of global warming, Africa — by far the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world — is projected to be among the regions hardest hit by environmental change.

    “We never used to have malaria in the highlands where I’m from, now we do,” said Kenyan lawmaker Mwancha Okioma, at a briefing on climate change at the Pan African Parliament Monday.

    The new environmental committee, headed by Okioma, raised concerns about the severity of climate change on Africa and called for those responsible to help reduce its effects.

    “Planes used to take people through Kilimanjaro to see the snows, now it’s only at the very top. We are asking the ones in North America and Europe who are producing the pollution to help us,” Okioma said.

    By reviewing four years of research on projected climate change in Africa, scientists with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change got a nuanced view of possible scenarios and assessed how these scenarios could play themselves out in a continent already stressed — water and food insecurity, infectious diseases, conflict, poverty.

    “There’s a whole suite of indicators which with climate change would undoubtedly make Africa one of the most stressed regions,” said Coleen Vogel, an environmental expert at South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand and lead author of a chapter on Africa being released this month by the Intergovernmental Panel.

    An orbiting satellite over Africa in 2050 might see, according to the scientists’ models, a drier north-northwest and south-southwest and wetter eastern and central regions.

    Panel Says Climate Change Will Hurt Africa