18 April 2017 – Warming of 2°C in Africa could reduce ag production by 20%
Scientific consensus is that a temperature increase of 2°Celsius would result in an average reduction of 15% to 20% in agricultural yields on the African continent.
The Center for Global Development’s 2011 report, “Quantifying Vulnerability to Climate Change Implications for Adaptation Assistance,” forecasts median agricultural productivity losses due to climate change ranging from 18% in North Africa to 19.8% in Central Africa through 2050.
The weak output in Africa, reinforced by a spike in temperatures and exacerbated by extreme climate events, could create a vicious loop of food insecurity, impoverishment, mass migration and, finally, armed conflict.
In addition to the moral imperative of feeding people, there is also an essentially practical argument to be made in favour of significantly increasing support for agricultural adaptation in Africa—the so-called feedback loop. By helping Africa boost agricultural production through improved soil management and irrigation techniques, as well as increased research on other farming techniques that respect the integrity of land, the global community also would be helping reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. That’s because the improved agricultural practices, as part of a virtuous circle, would increase yields on poor farmland, reduce deforestation and improve the carbon sequestration capacity of cultivated soil.
By maintaining African agriculture and reinforcing its capacity for adapting to climate change, the international community can show its responsiveness to the life-and-death issue of African food security, while addressing the global imperative to reduce temperature increases.