Climate change restricts development in Africa | WWF

Climate change restricts development in Africa

Posted on 06 November 2006
One of the most devastating impacts of climate change in East Africa will be changes in the frequency, intensity and predictability of rainfall. Drought in the Naivasha River Basin, Kenya.
© WWF / Mauri Rautkari
Gland, Switzerland/Nairobi, Kenya – As governments gather in Nairobi for the second Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, WWF warns that climate change has the potential to undermine, and even undo, improvements in the living standards of ordinary Africans.

WWF’s report, Climate Change in East Africa – Status of Science, illustrates that Africa warmed by 0.7°C over the last century. With temperatures now expected to rise between 0.2°C and 0.5°C per decade over the next century, these hotter temperatures will have a particularly detrimental impact on rural communities throughout East Africa, warns the global conservation organization.

“Climate change is starting to hit home, and we can clearly see the first impacts here in eastern Africa,” says Taye Teferi, Conservation Director of WWF's Eastern Africa Regional Programme.

“Since the poorest countries are on the receiving end of the pollution of developed countries, it’s only fair that polluters support us to build up our defences against climate change.”

One of the most devastating impacts of climate change in East Africa will be changes in the frequency, intensity and predictability of rainfall. Changes in regional precipitation will ultimately affect water availability and could lead to decreased agricultural production, potential food shortages and even conflict.

Warmer temperatures may also increase the occurrence and intensity of future disease outbreaks. High temperatures and intense rainfall are critical factors in initiating malaria epidemics especially in East Africa.

Hand-in-hand with these impacts, warming temperatures are projected to cause more frequent and more intense extreme weather events. Also, sea-level rise along coastal areas where people live is likely to disrupt economic activities there, such as agriculture, tourism, industry and fisheries.

“Beyond a 2°C hike in temperatures, climate change will spin out of control,” says Hans Verolme, Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme. “The world can still prevent dangerous climate change but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.”

“It is not a lack of solutions that is holding us back," Verolme adds.

"Ministers meeting in Nairobi need to chart a course for deeper emission cuts. We must work together to develop a safer, cleaner and more energy-efficient world.”

For further information:
Kimunya Mugo, Communications Manager
WWF-EARPO
Tel: +254 20 3877355
Email: kmugo@wwfearpo.org

Martin Hiller, Communications Manager
WWF Global Climate Change Programme
Tel: +41 79 347 2256
Email: mhiller@wwfint.org

Brian Thomson, Press Officer
WWF International
Tel: +41 79 477 3559
Email: bthomson@wwfint.org
One of the most devastating impacts of climate change in East Africa will be changes in the frequency, intensity and predictability of rainfall. Drought in the Naivasha River Basin, Kenya.
© WWF / Mauri Rautkari Enlarge