Africa’s rare glaciers will disappear in the next two decades because of climate change, a new report warned Tuesday amid sweeping forecasts of pain for the continent that contributes least to global warming but will suffer from it most .
The new report seizes on the shrinking glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda as symbols of the rapid and widespread changes to come.
The report from the World Meteorological Organization and other agencies, released ahead of the UN climate conference in Scotland that starts Oct. 31, is 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.
By 2030, up to 118 million extremely poor people, or those living on less than $1.90 a day, Sacko adds ,“will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa if adequate response measures are not put in place,”.
Massive displacement, hunger and increasing climate shocks such droughts and flooding are in the future, and yet the lack of climate data in parts of Africa “is having a major impact” on disaster warnings for millions of people, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said at Tuesday’s launch.
Already, the UN has warned that the Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar is one where “famine like conditions have been driven by climate change.” And it says parts of South Sudan are seeing the worst flooding in almost 60 year.
“The cost of adapting to climate change in Africa will rise to $50 billion per year by 2050, even assuming the international efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.”
The costs ahead are huge. The WMO’s Taalas said, “Overall, Africa will need investments of over $3 trillion in mitigation and adaptation by 2030 to implement its , requiring significant, accessible and predictable inflows of conditional finance,”.