Expert Says Africa Most Vulnerable to Rising Earth Temperatures

New York- US (PANA) -- Sub-Saharan Africa would be most affected by the negative impact of the warming of the earth's surface temperature on agricultural production, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Robert Watson has said.
Watson told participants Wednesday at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) at their annual meetings in Durban, South Africa, that IPCC's latest projections are that average surface temperature could rise by 1.
4 - 5.
8 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years.
A press statement by CGIAR Wednesday quoted Watson as saying that the result of such a development would be severe water shortages in arid land areas in southern Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe; decreased agricultural production in Africa and Latin America and higher worldwide food prices as supplies fail to meet increasing population.
Rising earth temperature would also cause major changes on productivity and the composition of critical ecological systems and bring about flooding and landslides as rainfall intensity increases and sea levels rise, Watson said.
Unfortunately, he said, Africa, which generates the least amounts of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, is most vulnerable to its impact as widespread poverty limits its capabilities to adapt to continuing climate change.
"Particularly at risk are the arid and semi-arid regions and grassland areas of eastern and southern Africa, and the areas already threatened by land degradation and desertification," he added.
Another participant at the meeting, Pedro Sanchez of CGIAR's International Research in Agro-forestry, Kenya, said at a press conference that international agricultural research can help in developing a coherent response to the potential effects of climate change on agriculture.
Through such efforts, he said, farmers can be helped to adapt to the consequences of climate change and thus mitigate its effects.
Considering the fact that 70 percent of Africa's population live on agriculture, the impact of climate change on the continent are expected to be severe, the experts warned.
But the experts also voiced concern about the impact of climate change on availability of water in sub-Saharan Africa.
While rainfall is projected to increase slightly over much of Africa, a decline in rainfall and an increase in temperatures is projected for southern Africa.
The Mediterranean area and particularly the Horn of Africa where drought has persisted in the last two decades would face severe food shortages, the experts warned.
On a global level, more than 1.
7 billion people now live in areas where water is scarce and the number is expected to increase to 5.
4 billion over the next 25 years.

23 may 2001 22:44:00




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