African countries are being forced to spend billions of dollars a year to deal with the effects of the climate crisis, which is diverting potential investments from schools and hospitals and threatening to plunge countries into deeper poverty.
Coping with extreme weather costs almost 6% of GDP in Ethiopia alone, equivalent to spending more than $1 to repair climate damage for every $20 of national income, according to a study by the think tank Power Shift Africa.
The warning comes ahead of a major new scientific report from the world’s authority on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This report, part two of the IPCC’s comprehensive summary of global climate science, will outline the consequences of climate degradation across the globe, examining floods, droughts, heatwaves and storms that affect climate systems. food, water supply and infrastructure. As global temperatures have risen in recent decades and the impact of extreme weather has become more apparent around the world, efforts to make infrastructure and communities more resilient have largely stalled.
Africa will be one of the most affected regions, despite having contributed the least to the climate crisis. According to the Power Shift Africa study, Adapt or Die: An analysis of African climate adaptation strategies, African countries will spend an average of 4% of their GDP to adapt to climate degradation.
These countries include some of the poorest people in the world, whose responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions is far less than that of people in developed countries or large emerging economies like China. Sierra Leone will have to spend $90 million a year to adapt to the climate crisis, although its citizens are responsible for around 0.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year each, while US citizens in generate about 80 times more.
Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa, said: “This report shows the profound injustice of the climate emergency. Some of the world’s poorest countries are having to use scarce resources to adapt to a crisis for which they are not responsible. Although they have a tiny carbon footprint compared to those of the rich world, these African countries suffer from droughts, storms and floods that strain already strained public finances and limit their ability to make faced with other problems.
He called for more funding from developed countries, which pledged at the UN COP26 climate summit to double the funds available to help poor countries adapt to the climate crisis. Rich countries promised in 2009 to provide 100 billion dollars a year to help poor countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the effects of climate degradation. But so far they have not achieved this goal, and most of the funds that have been provided have gone to emissions reduction projects, such as wind farms and solar panels, rather than efforts. to help countries adapt.
The study reviewed national adaptation plans submitted to the UN by seven African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan and Togo. South Sudan, which is the second poorest country in the world, was hit by floods last year that displaced 850,000 people and caused outbreaks of waterborne diseases. The country must spend $376 million per year on adaptation, or about 3.1% of its GDP.
Chukwumerije Okereke, director of the center for climate change and development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Nigeria, said rich countries must respond to the IPCC’s findings and report.
“It is both irresponsible and immoral for those who are the primary cause of climate change to watch as Africa, which has contributed next to nothing to climate change, continues to bear a disproportionate share of the impact,” did he declare. “The time for warm words is long gone. We need urgent, intensified and long-term support from the world’s major climate polluters.