Why Global Citizens Should Care
Although Africa contributes the least to global warming, the continent will unfairly be hit hardest by its effects. As it is home to some of the poorest countries in the world, there may not be sufficient resources for the continent to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The UN’s Global Goal 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and this can only be achieved if Africa is protected from and prepared for the impacts of global warming. Join the movement and take action on this issue here

According to a Greenpeace report, Africa will be heavily affected by global warming in the form of heatwaves, floods, and droughts in the future. 

As Africa is home to the majority of the world’s poorest nations, researchers expect it to be one of the hardest-hit regions by climate change, especially as there are fewer resources available to adjust to global warming’s impacts. 

The study showed that the continent could warm by an average of 2°C - 6°C (36°F - 43°F) by the end of this century. This is largely caused by warming that is directly linked to man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

However, according to Bloomberg, other studies project less severe temperature rises on the continent. The World Meteorological Organisation predicted a 2°C rise in temperature by 2100 in its first report on climate in Africa, which was released in October 2020. 

“Science shows there is very little that is natural in the disasters striking our continent,” Greenpeace Africa programme director Melitta Steele said in a statement

According to Greenpeace Research Laboratories, the increase in Africa's warming will result in more frequent heatwaves across the continent, less rain in southern and northern Africa, and more precipitation in central and East Africa.

The report also indicates that depending on how hot it gets, people living in four of the continent’s biggest cities — Lagos, Abidjan, Luanda, and Kinshasa — could begin to experience heat stress due to periods of elevated temperatures. 

Heat stress is an illness that is caused by exposure to extreme heat. It occurs when the body’s internal temperature rises and is unable to maintain a healthy temperature in response to external heat. Currently only Khartoum, in Sudan, is in danger of this phenomenon. 

According to the report, some projections show that South Africa’s unique Cape Floral region, which accounts for one-fifth of the continent’s plant biodiversity, could lose more than a third of its 5,682 plant species. Many plant species could also disappear from Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains.

“It is very clear that global heating acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities such as poverty and inequality by driving extreme weather events,” Greenpeace highlighted in the report. “The African continent is highly vulnerable to the impacts of global heating.” 


Defend the Planet

Global Warming Threatens Floods, Heatwaves, and Droughts in Africa’s Future: Greenpeace

By Khanyi Mlaba