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16/06/2006 – Food production in Western Africa will be hit by more frequent and more extreme heat waves and droughts if the climate continues to alter at its current pace, according to a new report released by the World Bank today.

The report, Turn Down the Heat - Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience - takes an in depth look at what climate change means for Sub Saharan Africa. It compares the impacts on the region if warming continues at its current rate with impacts if governments successfully limit average global temperature rise to 2° Celsius.

default-sv-logo-2While not removing the risk altogether, if temperature rise is kept under 2° Celsius, and comprehensive plans to adapt communities to climate change are put in place, many of the worst impacts can be avoided.

However, even at 2°C, poverty reduction efforts and economic growth could potentially slump in the region as crop yields drop and water access problems are exacerbated, said Emmanuel Seck, coordinator of Climate Action Network West Africa.

For example, the median yield of all crops is expected to be reduced by 11 per cent at 2°C. This is expected to double to over 20 per cent if warming reaches 4C. Furthermore, the length of growing period would also drop by 20 percent across the whole region.

While the livelihoods of families depending on fishing are also threatened. Senegal ranks among the most vulnerable countries to climate-change-driven impacts on fisheries. According to the World Bank, warming oceans mean there will be fewer fish and those that remain will be smaller.

Hotter weather will also mean fewer livestock can be maintained on land in northern Senegal’s Ferlo region as there will be less grass and fewer trees. Specifically, at 3°C warming, Sub Saharan savannah grasslands on which many communities graze their livestock, will shrink to one-seventh their current size, with huge ramifications for those who rely on that ecosystem for their survival.

“This report highlights the threat the climate change poses to the hard won gains in development we have made in this region in recent years,” SECK said. “Africa needs support from the international community to adopt a low carbon approach to development that is compatible with meeting the human rights and needs of its growing population and consequently we remind developed countries to comply with their commitments in terms of mitigation and financing”

Climate change of 2°C will/would lead to worse health for many people across Sub Saharan Africa. An increase in undernourishment, childhood stunting, malaria and other diseases could impact the ability of children to receive an education.

Climate Action Network is calling on African governments to implement low-carbon development and climate-resilient strategies in order to contribute to the reduction of the impacts of climate change on their populations.

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 850 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

For more information, please contact: Emmanuel SECK, CAN WA Coordinator
Enda Energie-Environnement-Développement
54, rue- carnot- BP : 3070, Dakar-Sénegal
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./enda.energy">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./enda.energy@orange.sn
Phone: 221 33 822 24 96/ 221 77 537 49 85
 

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