GLOBAL WARMING

Changing weather patterns to push more into food insecurity

Scientists say that increasing warming temperatures likely to endangers lives

In Summary
  • The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 report provides a snapshot of trends and impacts.
  • By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa.
Women from the Samburu tribe receive food donation in Oldonyiro, Isiolo county on October 8, 2021. REUTERS
Women from the Samburu tribe receive food donation in Oldonyiro, Isiolo county on October 8, 2021. REUTERS

More Kenyans are likely to go to bed on an empty stomach, a new report has suggested.

The new report shows that the changing weather patterns, rising temperatures and more extreme weather have contributed to mounting food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa in 2020.

The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 report provides a snapshot of climate change trends and impacts, including rise in sea levels and the melting of the continent’s iconic glaciers.

The report is a collaborative product of the World Metrological Organisation and the African Union Commission.

Other organisations include the Economic Commission for Africa through the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), international and regional scientific organisations and UN agencies.

It highlights Africa’s disproportionate vulnerability and shows how the potential benefits of investments in climate adaptation, weather and climate services and early warning systems far outweigh the costs.

Kenya is already reeling from the effects of climate change.

Lakes in Rift Valley and Lake Victoria are rising, displacing thousands.

According to the UN, more than 465,000 children under the age of five and over 93,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women are malnourished in Kenya's northern region.

The drought in the region has led to some 2.4 million people struggling to find enough to eat.

"During 2020, the climate indicators in Africa were characterised by continued warming temperatures and extreme weather and climate events, such as floods and landslides,"WMO secretary-general Prof Petteri Taaalas said. 

"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,"  he said

The report said Africa is witnessing increased weather and climate variability, which leads to disasters and disruption of economic, ecological and social systems.

By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa.

This is if adequate response measures are not put in place.

This will place additional burdens on poverty alleviation efforts and significantly hamper growth in prosperity.

In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross domestic product by up to 3 per cent by 2050.

This presents a serious challenge for climate adaptation and resilience actions, because not only are physical conditions getting worse, but also the number of people being affected is increasing.