Climate change is eating up Africa – expert makes alarming revelations

An environmental expert and a lecturer at the C. K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences has underscored the ravaging effects of rising temperatures and global warming. Mr Raymond Aitibasa Atanga who was speaking on the Africansonchina panel discussion on climate change said the world is experiencing rising temperatures every year, a trend he said has unbearable consequences on life.

He noted that for the past five years, the temperature of successive years has always been higher than the previous. “At the moment, where we are as a world in terms of climate change, five years in succession, every other year the temperature is always higher than the previous year,” he noted. Adding, “This year 2023, July 6, recorded the world’s highest temperature ever, 17.08℃ (62.74F)”.

Narrowing to Africa, Mr Atanga noted that Africa is on record as the world’s hottest continent while Mali is the hottest country in the world. Mali has consistently recorded high temperatures on average with 2023 clocking 28.83°C (83.89°F).

There are as many as six African countries in the top 10 hottest countries in the world. Kiribati (3rd), Tuvalu (5th) and Palau (9th); all from Oceania make up the list that includes Maldives in 8th to be the only countries outside of Africa. Mali, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin make up the rest of the pack and all from Africa.

According to the sustainable development and climate change researcher, Africa is at the mercy of climate change. Using Ghana as an example, he said a World Bank report covering the temperatures of the West African country from 1960 to 2021 shows an increase in temperature by about 1℃. In the same report he said, the number of hot days in the country has increased by 13% while the number of hot nights has increased by 20%. The hikes he said, impact life and livelihoods. He mentioned that various areas of human sources of livelihood such as precipitation and the oceans are all negatively impacted by the increasing temperatures.

Hitting on the impacts on precipitation in particular, Mr Atanga said research has provided evidence precipitation in Africa would be marked heavily by variability. This he said means there would be unpredictable changes in the normal calendar with droughts and rain occurring intermittently.

He said the 2007 floods disaster is an example of what the marked variability is where a period of drought was followed by torrential rains. In over two weeks, 14 countries in Africa were flooded resulting in the loss of at least 250 lives and over 1.5 million people displaced. Ghana alone recorded about 400,000 people being displaced. Sudan recorded 64 deaths, Ethiopia 17, and at least 150,000 were displaced in Uganda with 21 reported deaths and 170 schools submerged by water. Rwanda, Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Togo, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Liberia were also heavily affected in multiple ways.

Expounding more on the impacts, he said Ghana loses about 2-17 metres of its coastal land annually to coastal erosion, a resultant effect of climate change. Mr Atanga also revealed that Ghana lost 37% of its coastal land to the sea between 2005 and 2017. He said due to the melting ice as a result of high temperatures, the sea expands thus consuming the earth. Floods which he said have been a major result of the impacts of climate change recently in 2022 emerged as one of the biggest threats to life and property in recent years.

A brief about our guest, Raymond Aitibasa Atanga

 Mr Raymond Aitibasa Atanga is a lecturer at the Department of Environmental Science at the C. K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences and a researcher with interests in environmental planning, climate change, social policy and sustainable development which you can follow at Atanga’s publications. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Beijing, China and has authored several papers centring on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Mr Atanga appeared as a guest on the maiden edition of a yet-to-be-outdoored series by Africansonchina which discusses issues around the world with a specific focus on the African-China space. He was speaking on the theme: Navigating the Intersections: Climate Change, COP28, and China-Africa Relations.

Note: The full interview will be made available soon but you can watch excerpts from the attached videos below.

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