Climate Change Adaptation

The IPCC report (Download: PDF) on Climate Change impacts talks about the need for adaptation. The problem gets bigger because the poor in the world, even in the well developed countries, will be the worst effected.

Sub-saharan Africa has little capacity to introduce adaptation schemes, water resources are becoming increasingly scarce and dry areas are forecast to get drier. A high percentage of people are already suffering as they are poor or marginalised.

According to World Health Organisation figures, climate change already claims the lives of 150,000 people a year through natural disasters, disease and malnutrition. As temperatures rise we could see an increase in disease, malnutrition and water borne diseases.

Key findings of the report include:

75-250 million people across Africa could face water shortages by 2020

Crop yields could increase by 20% in East and Southeast Asia, but decrease by up to 30% in Central and South Asia

Agriculture fed by rainfall could drop by 50% in some African countries by 2020

20-30% of all plant and animal species at increased risk of extinction if temperatures rise between 1.5-2.5C

Glaciers and snow cover expected to decline, reducing water availability in countries supplied by melt water

This report is based on actual observed data rather than models. Ian Pearson, environment and climate change minister, said: “This report provides further evidence of why all countries need to work urgently to agree a global deal to combat climate change. But reducing emissions is not enough. We must plan for the changes ahead, including changed stability and security conditions.”

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