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Home » Climate Change and Africa: What You and I Can Do Now

Climate Change and Africa: What You and I Can Do Now

Climate Change and Africa: What You and I Can Do Now

The science is unequivocally clear regarding the vulnerability of the African continent.

Africa is already heating up twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and some 20 countries cutting across the continent are already warming faster than the globe. The point, therefore, is that the biophysical effects of climate change are universally felt across the continent and any regional differences are minor.

The causes of this vulnerability are both physical in terms of the climatic variability we experience and socioeconomic. On the physical front, Africa’s climate is naturally highly diverse and variable, to begin with. Within the same continent, we have extreme aridity of the Saharan deserts and extreme humidity of the Congo rainforest. These extreme circumstances to begin with makes the multiplier effect of the changing climate far worse compared to other continents that are not as diverse. On the socioeconomic drivers of vulnerability, while climate change effects are global, the poor are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects because they lack the resources they need to afford alternative goods and services to buffer against the worst of the changing climate effects.

For example, while other developed places in the West experience category 5 cyclones quite regularly, they do not experience the level of damage as we see in Africa as was the case during Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in southern Africa. A higher socioeconomic base enables populations to be in a position to afford alternatives to mitigate their losses and risk such as insurance. For example, in Louisiana, home and business owners filed up to $10 billion in insurance claims for damages caused by natural disasters in 2020.

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