The Impact of Climate Change on Africa Essay

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Scientists, economists, and policy makers all agree the world is facing threat from climate warming. Climate warming is caused by excess greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide which are heat trapping gasses. Human use of fossil fuels is a significant source of these gasses. When we drive our cars, heat our homes with oil or natural gas, or use electricity from coal fired power plants, we contribute to global warming. Including any loss of trees or forests also contributes, considering trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Global warming will have a worldwide effect but the problem is expected to be most severe in Africa, where the people are poor, temperatures are high, precipitation is low, technological change is slow, and where agriculture drives the economy. Climate changes in Africa will ultimately affect their habitats, native and non-native species, agriculture, weather, health, and energy use.
First, across Africa the landscape is changing, the snowy caps of Mount Kilimanjaro are melting and the shorelines of Lake Chad are receding. The once enormous Lake Chad has nearly vanished, it is now half the size it was thirty five years ago (Offor, 2008). The town of Burundi is on Lake Tanganyika, which is still a vast expanse of water, but the shoreline has retreated 50 feet in the last 4 years, and ships can no longer reach the port. Lake Victoria, the biggest of Africa's great lakes, dripped by a vertical inch a day for much of last year. The receding of these lakes along with a change in temperature of the water will now deplete the fish stock. As the fish sources decrease, this limits the amount of fish caught and sold by fisherman. When the regular food source is strained, Africans may turn to hunting wil...

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...nal Climate and Environmental Research:
Juma, C. (2009, September 15). Climate Change in Africa. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from The World Bank Blog:
Kristof, N. D. (2007, June 28). Our Gas Guzzlers, Their Lives. New York City, New York, USA: The New York Times.
Mendelsohn, R. (2000, July 12). Climate Change Impacts on African Agriculture. Retrieved December 4, 2009, from
Offor, C. (2008, April 21). Climate Change Effects on Africa. Retrieved December 2, 2009, from
Schlesinger, M. E. (2007). Chapter 14: The Impacts of Climate Change on Africa. In S. e. al, Human-Induced Climate Change: An Interdisciplinary Assessment. Cambridge University Press.
Vallely, P. (2006, May 16). Climate Change will be Catastrophe for Africa. Retrieved December 8, 2009, from

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