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Climate change is the long term, near permanent changes that take place in the climate due to activities that lead to the release of greenhouse gases, the reduction of the ozone layer and leads essentially to significant temperature rises and global warming. Climate change, caused largely by the activities of human beings, is already a reality in Africa, as it is all over the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] has found that Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to climate change, even though the continent contributes the least to the process.
The vulnerability of Africa to climate change is driven by a range of factors that includes weak adaptive capacity, high dependence on ecosystem goods for livelihoods, and less developed agricultural production systems. And while these may vary from country to country, the risks of climate change impact on agricultural production, food security, water resources and ecosystem services will likely have increasingly severe consequences on lives and sustainable development in Africa.
Managing this risk requires integration of mitigation and adaptation strategies in the general overall human and national development policies, as well as in management of ecosystem goods and services, and the agriculture production systems in Africa. Over the coming decades, warming from climate change is expected across almost all the earth’s surface, and global mean rainfall will increase.
Consistent with this, observed surface temperatures have generally increased over Africa since the late 19th century to the early 21st century by about 1°C, but locally as much as 3°C for minimum temperature in the Sahel at the end of the dry season. Observed precipitation trends indicate spatial and temporal discrepancies as expected. Thus, the observed changes in temperature and precipitation vary regionally.
Sectoral impacts of climate change will include impacts on Agriculture; Fisheries; Food security and water; Forestry; Health; the Economy; and Energy sectors. Other types of impact categories will include: demographic; as well as security. For instance, across Africa, the impact of climate change on precipitation, leading to drought and drying up of rivers and lakes, is already leading to loss of livelihoods, massive displacement of communities, food insecurity, and growing tensions between communities that have become drivers of intractable conflicts between communities practicing different livelihoods types that are dependent of land and water.
We take the position that Africa and her peoples have been the victims of unsustainable corporate business practices that have decimated the environment and are driving climate change. Weak governance capacity, with respect to leadership, institutions, policies, legislative and regulatory frameworks, have combined to make Africa unable to stand up to corporate power and the bullying activities of more powerful states and governments in the hemispheric north.
It is this situation that has led to the context where though Africa is the least contributor to global warming, it is the continent with the greatest vulnerability to climate change impact.
Our work on climate change s seek to build solidarity with citizens across Africa, to build capacity for resilience to prevent and slow down further global warming; mitigate the impact of climate change; and positively adapt to climate change. Specifically, we work in the following areas: