A Warning: Africa’s Last Glaciers Will Disappear Soon


According to a recent United Nations assessment, Africa’s last three mountain glaciers are receding at such a rapid rate that they may vanish within two decades, a reminder of the greater destruction wreaked by climate change on the continent.

Even though African countries account for less than 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the World Meteorological Organization and other agencies’ report highlighted the outsized impact that climate change is having on the continent’s 1.3 billion people as floods become more severe, droughts last longer, and temperatures continue to rise.


In a foreword to the report, the World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, said, “The rapid shrinking of the last remaining glaciers in eastern Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of imminent and irreversible change to the Earth system.”


“Continued warming temperatures, accelerating sea-level rise, extreme weather and climate events, such as floods, landslides, and droughts, and associated devastating impacts” characterized Africa’s climate in 2020, he added in a report released ahead of the United Nations climate conference in Scotland, which begins on Oct. 31.


The melting of glaciers — ice outposts far above the sweltering tropics that have long piqued people’s interest — is a physical manifestation of the planet’s changing climate. The glaciers on Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya’s Mount Kenya, and Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, which border Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have been retreating for years.


The research provides a bleak picture of both the current effects and the potential implications of not taking immediate action. If proper response measures are not put in place by 2030, up to 118 million people living on less than $1.90 per day “would be susceptible to drought, floods, and high heat in Africa,” it added.


It cautioned that as the effects of lengthy conflicts, political instability, climate variability, insect outbreaks, and economic crises — compounded by the coronavirus pandemic — combine, families’ daily struggle to acquire food would become increasingly difficult.


“This is a region of the world that has contributed nothing to climate change, but now they’re the ones suffering the heaviest price,” said David Beasley, head of the United Nations World Food Program, recently.


The United Nations has previously warned that the world is witnessing its first “climate famine” in Madagascar, an East African island nation. According to the United Nations, tens of thousands of people are suffering from severe food shortages, and more than half a million people are on the verge of starvation. Another 800,000 people are on the verge of joining them.

Read more: Maasai Give Up Nomadic lifestyle Due to Climate Change

Climate-related disasters have now displaced more than twice as many people worldwide as war and armed conflict. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, a voluntary data organization, recorded 14.6 million additional displacements in 127 countries and territories in the first six months of 2020. In addition, around 4.8 million people died due to conflict and bloodshed, whereas 9.8 million died as a result of natural catastrophes.


According to the report, East Africa accounted for about 12% of those displaced, with violence displacing 500,000 people and climate disasters displacing another 1.2 million.


The melting of African glaciers has replicated similar trends on ice-capped peaks as far away as Peru and Tibet, and it’s one of the clearest pieces of evidence that global warming has outpaced usual climatic change in the last 50 years.


Temperatures have continued to climb as the ice has evaporated.


According to the paper, “the 30-year warming trend for 1991-2020 was higher than for 1961-1990 in all African subregions and much higher than the trend for 1931-1960.”

“If current trends continue, total deglaciation will occur by the 2040s,” it said.


Mount Kenya’s glacier, which formerly blanketed the peak at 17,000 feet above sea level with snow, is predicted to vanish a decade sooner, making it “one of the first major mountain ranges to lose glaciers owing to human-induced climate change,” according to the paper.

Read more: Google, YouTube Won’t allow ads or Monetization of Content Denying Climate Change


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