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Climate: $200-$350 bn a year needed for Africa - UN


Africa will need between $200 and $350 billion a year by 2070 to shore up its defences against climate change, a UN report said Monday.

The $200-billion (150-billion-euro) figure is a best-case scenario, based on meeting the goal of limiting average global warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report said.

It was issued on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Warsaw that are working towards sealing a global deal by 2015 to reach the 2 C target.

The higher figure of $350 billion (260 billion euros) assumes warming of 3.5-4.0 C, which will cause much greater damage to Earth's climate system.

"Missing the 2.0 C window will not only cost governments billions of dollars but will risk the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people on the African continent and elsewhere," UNEP chief Achim Steiner said in a statement.

"Even with a warming scenario of under 2.0 C by 2050, Africa's undernourished would increase 25-90 per cent.

"Crop production will be reduced across much of the continent as optimal growing temperatures are exceeded. The capacity of African communities to cope with the impacts of climate change will be significantly challenged."

The World Bank has warned of a 40-percent risk of warming between 3.5 C and 4.0 C if efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions are not stepped up significantly.

Developing countries are pressing rich nations to come good on a 2009 pledge to mobilise $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020.

Adding expected climate damage to adaptation costs for dealing with droughts, floods and sea level rise, total costs could reach four percent of Africa's gross domestic product by 2100 under a 3.5 C to 4.0 C scenario, said the UNEP report.

Without adaptation, this figure may be as high as seven percent.

Steiner called for funding to help African nations adapt to climate change and develop technical know-how.

This could include developing drought-resistant crops and early-warning systems, and investing in renewable energy sources.

In another recent report, the UNEP had warned that current pledges by countries to limit emissions by 2020 would lead to a global temperature increase of 3.5 C to 4.0 C by 2100.

In such a world, Africa's coastline would see sea-level rise 10 percent higher than the rest of the world and arid areas, already more than half of the continent's land mass, expanding by four percent.

Rainfall will decline drastically, and coral reefs essential for fisheries, tourism and coastal protection, will likely become extinct, said UNEP.