A new report by the United Nations has warned that more than 100 million “extremely poor” people across Africa are threatened by accelerating climate change that could also melt away the continent’s few glaciers within two decades.
The report released on Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization presented a grim reminder that Africa’s 1.3 billion people remain “extremely vulnerable” as the continent warms more and at a faster rate than the global average – when the continent’s 54 countries are responsible for less than 4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
“By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa, if adequate response measures are not put in place,” said Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, commissioner for rural economy and agriculture at the African Union Commission.
The extremely poor were defined by the WMO as those who live on less than $1.90 per day.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross domestic product by up to 3 percent by 2050,” Sacko said.
“Not only are physical conditions getting worse, but also the number of people being affected is increasing,” she said in the report’s foreword.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that last year temperatures continued to rise across Africa, “accelerating sea-level rise” as well as extreme weather events like floods, landslides and droughts – all indicators of climate change.