Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Link between Climate Change and the Horn of Africa?

A recent article in the Guardian examines the link between climate change and the Horn of Africa. The article reports that evidence is inconclusive, but there is a strong trend indicating the increased probability of extreme weather events that lead to crises.

According to the article, "Attributing the current drought directly to climate change is impossible, but in the words of Sir John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, in a talk at Oxfam last week, 'worldwide, events like this have a higher probability of occurring as a result of climate change'. Moreover, unless something is done, the current suffering offers a grim foretaste of the future – temperatures in east Africa are going to rise and rainfall patterns will change, making a bad situation worse."

The article's most important argument is that regardless of the exact connection between climate change and famine, international agencies must focus on addressing human vulnerability to weather events.

"The famine shows the extreme vulnerability of poor people to weather events like failed rains. Governments and the international community have to save lives now, but also act to reduce that chronic vulnerability, building local ability to manage the drought cycle, improving the flow of data, information and ideas for adapting to climate change, and drastically increasing long-term investment in smallholder agriculture and pastoralism, which have shown they can provide a decent life for millions of east Africans, provided they are supported (rather than ignored) by governments.

Beyond helping east Africa and other vulnerable regions adapt to impending climate change, it is of course also incumbent on the rich and emerging economies to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it. Fail to do that, and all attempts at adaptation are likely to offer only temporary relief."

(Image from The Guardian article)

Read the Article here.

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