Glaciers in Africa have melted within 20 years if action is not taken immediately. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warns that in a report.
The continent has three large mountain ranges with glaciers: the Kilimanjaro mountain massif in Tanzania, Mount Kenya in Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda.
If nothing is done to dry the ice layers, the report says it leads to flooding, extreme heat and long periods of drought. By 2030, more than 118 million people in eastern Africa could face it.
First in Kenya
The glaciers in Kenya are expected to be melted first, possibly within ten years. According to the report, it is one of the first mountain ranges in the world to lose their glaciers at the hands of humans.
The glaciers are important for water flows to lower populated areas. “The rapid shrinking of East African glaciers shows the threat of irreversible change of the system on Earth,” warns WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas.
Low emissions, but the consequences
Africa is less likely to heat up than other parts of the world. Less than 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by Africa, but the impact of climate change is noticeable. For example, arable farming in Africa is affected by drought, and due to poverty, few people can adapt well to the changes.
Last year, both the east and west of the continent faced flooding in areas that are mostly dependent on agriculture. The WMO estimates that the cost of combating climate change for sub-Saharan countries will reach EUR 42 billion by 2050.