The Global Goal for Adaptation Under the Paris Agreement: Putting Ideas into Action

Sub-Saharan Africa, is recognized by the fifth assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the African region that is most vulnerable to drought and the impacts of climate change. Within the report, it is predicted that the annual precipitation is likely to decrease in the South-Western parts of South Africa, while projected rainfall change over sub-Saharan Africa is uncertain. Conversely, regions of complex topography, such as the Ethiopian Highlands, are likely to experience an increase in rainfall, particularly extreme rainfall events, by the end of the 21st century. In addition, with no further mitigation action, average global temperatures could reach as much as 4.8°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. At a global level, warming of this magnitude will bring unprecedented climate variability and extremes, which would permanently alter both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and cause sea level to rise by as much as 100 cm. For Africa, a +4°C world could translate into an increased average temperature of as much as 6°C in some areas. Climate impacts on agriculture, lives and livelihoods will already be significant with a 2°C global average warming (or up to 3°C on the continent), so an increase of 4°C would magnify these impacts to intolerable levels in many regions of the continent. It is likely that climate change will increase the frequency and magnitude of many extreme weather events and will certainly increase the risk of slow-onset events like sea level rise or desertification. Africa’s vulnerability to climate change and climate variability is exacerbated by multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity.