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Climate Change: Africa Faces Huge Adaptation Cost

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ABUJA - Africa faces huge financial challenges in adapting to climate change, according to the United Nations Environment programme (UNEP).

That spells out the cost faced by the continent if government fails to close the ‘emissions gap.’

This is contained in a statement issued by UNEP in Warsaw, Poland, where the 19th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Convention.

According to the statement, made available to newsmen online in Abuja, Africa could face a financial challenge, if governments failed to close ‘’emissions gap’’ to keep warming below two degrees Celsius.

It stated that climate change adaptation costs for Africa could reach approximately 350 billion dollars annually by 2070 should the two-degree target be significantly exceeded.

It explained that the cost would be around 150 billion dollars lower per year, if the target was to be met.

The statement said that Africa’s adaptation gap, released on Tuesday and endorsed by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) confirmed the report.

‘’The World Bank’s Turn Down the Heat Reports states that there is a 40 per cent chance that we will inhabit a ‘3.5-4° Celsius World’, if mitigation efforts are not stepped up from current levels.

‘’Africa is already facing adaptation costs in the range of seven to 15 billion dollars per year by 2020.

‘’These costs will rise rapidly after 2020, since higher levels of warming will result in higher impacts.

‘’Combining adaptation costs with ‘residual’ damages, the total costs can reach four per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2100, under a 3.5-4° Celsius scenario.

‘’If no adaptation measures are taken, damages are expected to cost seven per cent of African GDP by 2100 in a ‘3.5-4°Celsius World’,’’ the statement quoted the report as saying.

It said the report cautioned that, even if the world did manage to get on track to keep warming below two degrees Celsius, Africa’s adaptation costs will still hover around 35 billion dollars per year.

It further quoted UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, as saying that ‘’missing the two degrees window would not only cost governments billions of dollars, but would also risk the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people on the African continent and elsewhere.

‘’Even with a warming scenario of under two degrees Celsius by 2050, Africa’s undernourished would increase 25 per cent - 90 per cent.

“Crop production will be reduced across much of the continent as optimal growing temperatures are exceeded.

‘’The capacity of African communities to cope with the impacts of climate change will be significantly challenged.

‘’I would like to welcome the decision by AMCEN to endorse the recommendations of the Africa Gap report, an important step towards strengthening political will and building resilient national policies.’’

Steiner further noted that: ‘’Additional adaptation funding and technical know-how are imperative if Africa is to move towards a climate-resilient green future path.

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