Translating Future Climate for Africa Science for Targeted Policymakers Needs

This brief summarizes a piece of work that explored the potential value of Future Climate For Africa (FCFA) and the closely related work on climate change, impacts and adaptation in tropical and sub-tropical sub-Saharan Africa. This work is from a policymaker or planner’s perspective and has a regional- or national-level focus. Insights developed are derived from an overview of advances made by FCFA climate science in simulating climate processes over tropical and sub-tropical Africa in relation to the state of knowledge as represented by the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC. In conjunction with this overview, an effort was made to identify a potential approach for leveraging this evolving information to inform policymakers of the priority risks and investment needs over the next few decades. The work used the agricultural and livelihood sectors as the primary perspectives for developing this approach but is potentially transferable to other vulnerable sectors. The approach is based upon the potential for identifying levels of climate change that might exceed adaptation limits and may thus result in predictable stepped increases in costs associated with impacts, damages, and adaptation investment needs. If programs like FCFA are able to effectively communicate the science by using scenarios linked to emissions pathways, it can help to inform policymakers’ decisions and their ability to develop more robust plans and policies. Robust evidence supporting these positions would strengthen negotiators’ abilities to motivate for technology transfer, funding support and other forms of assistance. This could then contribute to achieving the global mitigation goal while also investing in adaptation planning and implementation appropriate for the level of climate change projected.