By Dave Mayers
Posting in Environment
Many of the world's fastest growing economies are in Africa. Will global warming derail the continent's development before it has a chance to really take off?
JOHANNESBURG - More than half of the world's 30 fastest growing economies are in Africa. Much of the growth in these "frontier markets" is a product of low baseline GDP figures. In many of these countries there's nowhere to go but up.
Ernst & Young echoed many other observers when it said, "There is a new story emerging out of Africa: a story of growth, progress, potential and profitability."
Despite the rosy projections of double-digit growth, many of these economies are dependent on small farmers often living hand-to-mouth on nutrient-poor land. The hope in many African capitals is to use growth to pull subsistence farmers out of poverty and modernize the sector across the region.
But some agricultural minsters and industry experts fear that global warming could derail the continent's promising future, turning farms into wastelands in only a few decades.
Estimates by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization say that by 2030, two-thirds of the continent's arable land will be lost to ever-encroaching deserts.
This loss of land would be devastating anywhere. But in a place where 75 percent of the population farms and agriculture makes up a third of all exports, a change like this could be dire for the future of the continent, impeding growth just as many African nations are emerging from decades of strife.
By World Bank estimates (pdf) The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda will all see more than 13% growth in their economies in the next three years. These African nations are also all heavily dependent on agriculture for this growth.
In Niger, a poor, landlocked country straddling the Sahara, 40 percent of GDP comes from subsistence agriculture. Small farmers are at the mercy of weather patterns that are out of their control, living on the margins next to one of the world's largest deserts. Adam Nossiter reports in The New York Times:
Niger is next to last on the United Nations' Human Development Index, and is subject to droughts and near famines. In the last decade alone, there have been three serious food shortages related to low rainfall and insect attacks, and this year perhaps a third of the population is facing hunger.
Niger is one of a growing number of nations that have historically faced drought and staved off famine, now dealing with these pressures with increased frequency. It's unclear whether this is largely because of climate change or a number of other factors. What is clear is that this is happening at a time when many of these countries seem like they are shedding their old images a basket-cases.
On the heels of a Rio+20 summit filled with handwringing and finger pointing between developed and developing nations, African delegates left with little more than a promise to fund the UN Environment Program. There were no specifics on how that would be done, or who foot the bill.
Many African delegates are looking to the UNEP to help fund a transition into greener economies, ones that allow small farmers to use their land more efficiently, lessen the threat of desertification and fight the effects of climate change.
Adam Mohammed Nour of Sudan's Ministry of Environment, Forests and Physical Development told the UN's African Renewal Magazine recently, "We are hoping that the green economy will bear fruit when it comes to combating desertification, poverty, and protecting the environment."
Aug 16, 2012
Look what they do: in Africa, http://www.jhasol.org/ Ambitious western Businessmen cannot do that, they are the one that often destroy Africa for money profit. Morality is missing in the behavior of western countries and now also China toward the so called poor African countries, rich in Mineral exploited by the west and Asia
Global warming = accelerated by human habits such as deforestation, desertification ("poor farming techniques"), etc. What you're saying is our destroying the planet has nothing to do with global warming. If so, than your argument stands. I believe it is human-assisted global warming (meaning it's not just completely our fault, but we are involved in it), so in my mind what he's saying is global warming (enhanced by our poor management) is destroying Africa's future. So his point and your point hold true. You do, however, bring up the issues of horrible leadership for the countries which would need to be solved if they want to prosper further.
Estimates by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization say that by 2030, two-thirds of the continentâs arable land will be lost to ever-encroaching deserts. A bold statement from a pathetic organization. They blame global warming when in fact a long list of regional problems are behind Arficas problems. In the case of expanding deserts, much of it is being accelerated by ever expanding deforestation and poor farming techniques. I suppose it is easier to blame a phantom caused by developed nations than to admit Africa has long term internal problems that western aid is only aggravating. No one wants to admit that on a daily basis local war lords across Africa fight over western supply convoys. Or that bribes to and from those same war lords are a way of life among aid organizations. Or that groups are poisoning water sources to drive opponents out of disputed territories. Making the water unfit for human consumption or for use on crops. The list of problems goes on and on and no one wants to confront the truth. Instead they ask, who or what do we blame?
We know deforestation causes regional climate issues. It has a lot of undisputed data behind it. Reduced rainfall and higher temps are at the top of the list. When you simultaneously cause hundreds of regional climate problems you will have an impact on global weather at some point. The cumulative impact is unavoidable. The question is, have we hit that point? In that vein, why has no one ever done a comprehensive study on the cumulative impact of the hundreds of the huge Urban Heat Islands we call major cities. One of my biggest problems with claims the US is warming has to do with the poor placement of remote weather stations in our increasingly urban country. Like it or not, UHI are causing inaccurate readings. Even without decades of studies, these two factors alone have more convincing arguments behind them than man made CO2 warming. IMHO. I am all for rebuilding the worlds forests and stopping the toxic pollutants flooding our air and water from countries like China, India and Brazil. I would rather see our efforts focused on confronting real issues instead of clamoring to shut down 6 coal power plants in the US because someone making money selling carbon credits thinks their CO2 emissions are too high.
The sad reality is that poverty has become an industry unto itself. The net result is that we're actually paying Africa not to solve its problems while at the same time increasing the number of suffering Africans. [i]Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.[/i] - Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University.
Do you really think scientists are so stupid they're not aware of Urban Heat Islands? It is an issue that has been well studied and compensation made for the effect. An examination of the problem using Anthony Watt's SurfaceStations list found that after compensation the poorly placed weather stations actually showed less warming than well placed stations. Like it or not UHI's are not an issue.
But if you want to be taken seriously you have to come up with some actual scientific arguments, not just some mistaken perception of what that is. For instance the Sun shining on the south wall of the temperature housing doesn't matter because they are designed in a way to measure the actual air temperature and not be affected by the Sun shining on the housing. I give the scientists actually studying the temperature record credit for understanding what they are doing and the various factors that can skew the results. If you read the papers they publish they go through all of that in excruciating detail. It's up to you to refute the science they publish if you can. Just to clarify things I wasn't referring to any temperature record that Watts tried to produce, just his record of poorly and well sited weather stations which was useful. And one other point, in examining climate change the absolute temperature is not as important as how the temperature changes over time. So even if a temperature station is in a UHI situation it can still accurately reflect the magnitude of temperature changes. Your pronouncements on the subject are closer to magic than their work.
Effective compensation must take into account the weather at the moment the temperature was taken. Was the sun shining on the wall of the south facing temperature probe or was it raining? Just like the other compensation methods that try to drop temperature anomalies Watts method is a failure because it does not take into account the weather. An odd thing about all of these compensation methods, for some reason the only anomalies that are dropped are the ones LOWER than expected models predicted. And the temperature averages, including Watts, end up higher than before the compensation. Just what are these models based on? Magic. Watts and others like him are trying to clean up bad data with junk science. He is a clown and his attempts at compensation are like a doctor putting a band aid on a burst artery.