The annual UN conference on climate change (COP25) held in Madrid in early December failed to raise the most needed climate ambition, despite running almost 44 hours, after its scheduled end. For the African group, "a no-deal was better than a bad deal for the continent," as observed by the incoming African Group of Negotiators (AGN) chair, Tanguy Gahouma of Gabon. "Either we have through this process, the funding and technology transfer or this process can continue for another year." Africa was attending the conference against a background of the continent experiencing extreme weather events. Themed "Time for Action" and attended by nearly 27,000 delegates, COP25 was expected to powerfully articulate the need for parties to raise ambition ahead of 2020 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) enhancement.
The average temperature increase across the West African region, linked with rising atmospheric carbon pollution, is in line with the global trend: 1°C, relative to pre-industrial times. New crop modelling now confirms that this rise in regional temperature could account for significant cereal losses in West Africa in recent years.
The computer models which scientists use to project future shifts in climate have mainly been developed by scientists outside of Africa. Scientists therefore have limited understanding of how these tools represent the conditions that are unique to different regions on the African continent.A new network of climate scientists in Africa and the United Kingdom hopes to address this, by fast-tracking model development which will improve the understanding of how these tools represent climate processes in African regions. These researchers will collaborate through the Climate Model Evaluation Hub for Africa.
The 8th tropical cyclone of 2019 in the North Indian Ocean made landfall on Saturday 7th December. There haven’t been more than seven tropical cyclones in a season since 1976. Cyclone Pawan weakened as it moved over the northern tip of Somalia, but some devasting impacts were still felt. There have been at least two reported deaths so far, as well as damage to houses, roads and communication lines.Concurrently, two other tropical cyclones, Belna and Ambali, were sat in the South-West Indian Ocean. Belna made landfall on the 9th December over northern Madagascar, bringing strong winds and rain. The Red Cross estimate that 260,000 people were at risk. These comprise the first two tropical storms of the South-West Indian Ocean Cyclone season, which runs until 30th April 2020.
Rapid development in parts of central and southern Africa is occurring within a context of high exposure and vulnerability to climate change but with relatively low capacity for adaptation. Major infrastructural investments with 5–40 year lifetimes are being planned and implemented in the region – many without being informed by climate information. Ensuring this infrastructure is viable in a changing climate is essential, yet decision-makers face significant challenges in assessing how climate change affects investment decisions. An international research project led by the Grantham Research Institute at LSE has been working over the past four years to address critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of central and southern Africa’s climate and to effectively communicate climate information to decision-makers – crucial for enabling climate-resilient development in this highly vulnerable region.
At COP25, in Madrid, the proposal for acknowledgment of Africa's special circumstances and needs was put forward, allowing the Presidency to informally consult with the hope that the proposal can be included in the current COP agenda, or in Glasgow at COP26.The proposal relates to the continent’s increasingly high vulnerability, due to extreme weather events, and the increasing economic burdens as nations considered high risk borrow at high rates to meet their development agenda affected by climate change. Additionally, the dilemma on how the continent will go about mining it's natural resources as the UN Secretary General calls for the world leaders to keep fossils fuels down.
Eastern Africa experiences two wet seasons per year; the long rains in March-May, and the short rains in October-December. For much of Eastern Africa the long rains are the major rainfall and primary agricultural season, thus, the decline in the long rains since 1985 has had major socio-economic consequences. In a recent study, within the HyCRISTAL project, specific characteristics of this decline were investigated, and a regional mechanism that explains the decline is proposed.
Dr Rondro Barimalala an oceanographer from Madagascar has been working on a model refining process for a number of years, after she specialised as a climate modeller through her doctoral and post-doctoral studies. More recently, this work has landed her a place on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) global panel of expert climate scientists.
Tea production is an important contributor to the economies of Kenya and Malawi. It is widely acknowledged that the quality and quantity of tea production is being affected by changing weather patterns. An understanding of these potential changes is necessary to support climate resilient planning in tea production and supply chains. This video showcases the impact of climate change on tea in Malawi and Kenya.
We are excited to share with you Future Climate for Africa's final newsletter for 2019 showcasing the recent work of FCFA in what has been a busy and productive last few months.