Climate change will hit poorest, hardest

2011-11-30 20:54
Cape Town – Climate change will hit poorer countries where people are more vulnerable to the effects of climate on food production, a research organisation has said.

“East Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought in the last 60 years which has caused famine and starvation in Somalia. The current crisis has affected 10 million people, led to 640 000 malnourished children, killed nearly 29 000 and placed half a million others at risk,” senior researcher Danielle Nierenberg at the World Watch Institute told News24.

Nierenberg has extensive experience in Africa, having spent time evaluating 300 food projects in 25 countries and urged policy makers to adopt practices that promote diversification of farming on the continent.

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Durban for the COP 17 climate conference where the debate will centre around reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change is on the agenda.

Scientists estimate that if the global temperature rise cannot be held to under 2°C, it may result in runaway climate change characterised by extreme weather events like droughts, floods and storms that will have a devastating impact in vulnerable areas.

Hopes are low for a binding agreement as there are deep divisions between politicians from developed and developing countries.

Poverty

Activists and scientists agree that water shortages and food security will have the most immediate impact on poor people in susceptible areas as climate change takes hold.

According to the UN millennium development goal monitor, countries in West Africa particularly struggle with extreme poverty with up to 70% of the population in Nigeria living on less than $1 per day.

The World Watch Institute blamed part of the problem on governments encouraging monoculture crops and legislation prohibiting urban farming.

According to the organisation, food production for people in vulnerable areas will decline and costs will increase because of the effects of climate change.

“By the year 2050, if nothing is done to correct the situation, rice production [south east Asia and sub Saharan Africa] will decrease by 14%, a decline in wheat production by 44% - 49%, and a decline in maize production by 9% -19%,” Nierenberg said.

The rising costs of food will have a particularly devastating impact on the poor because they spend a larger percentage of their budget on food, she said.

“On average, the poor spend about 70% of their incomes on food so even small price increases can have a huge impact on food security.”

Trees

Negotiators are hoping that the Durban conference will finalise details of a proposed green climate fund of around $100bn for developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Nierenberg proposed that farmers could mitigate the effects of carbon pollution planting trees which could help to retain water, improve soil fertility and reducing erosion.

Indigenous trees could play a role in limiting carbon in the atmosphere.

“African farmers could sequester 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 50 years, primarily by planting trees among crops, protecting forests, and keeping their soils planted with crops for more of the year,” Nierenberg said.

Senegal is co-ordinating co-operation with 11 countries to build a project dubbed the Great Green Wall which aims to plant a tree line 15km wide and 7 775km long to fight desertification in the south of the Sahara.

According to the World Watch Institute, funding for projects to help farmers should come from international organisations as well as African countries themselves.

“Funding needs to come from international donors, from the World Bank and IFC, from NGOs, but most importantly from African countries themselves. Only a handful of African nations invest 10% or more of their national budgets into agriculture, even though the majority of the GDP in these nations comes from small-scale agriculture,” said Nierenberg.


- Follow Duncan on Twitter


Read more on:    climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.