Confronting Climate Change : Africa’s Leadership on an Increasingly Urgent Issue

This chapter discusses several issues regarding climate change and its effects on several countries on the African continent. The first heading, discusses the African leadership in a time of climate risk. Africa’s “growth miracle” and its associated resurgence has been challenged. Commodity prices have plunged which related to a global economic slowdown that have dampened economic prospects. Climate change and other environmental stresses are taking an increasing toll on many countries. The recent drought in Southern Africa has meant that currently over 20 million people require emergency assistance in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The next sub heading in this chapter discusses - Small-scale, high-impact policies for fighting climate change in 2017. The proliferation of small-scale, high-impact climate actions can drive a dramatic shift in Africa’s response to climate change, provided policymakers set up the right incentives. The rapid growth of African urban centers like Nairobi, Lagos, or Abidjan opens an opportunity for the development of distributed solar generation, thereby accelerating access to clean electricity as experienced by Mexico and other large cities in Latin America. In the next sub heading – Pollution in select African cities are discussed. Pollution is becoming problematic in many African cities, though its prevalence varies from city to city. Following onto this – the next heading poses the question - Does climate change cause conflict? A research paper, “Warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa,” presented to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences claims that temperature rises in Africa have coincided with significant increases in the likelihood of war. 1) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described the conflict in Darfur as the world’s first climate change conflict. 2) The assumption is that water scarcity from changed rainfall patterns resulting from climate change contributed to the conflict in Darfur. This reflects findings that the incidence of conflict is likely to be higher in years of lower precipitation. The following article talks about ways in which climate change is currently affecting Africa.