Plants and animals are fast getting depleted because global temperatures are getting warmer with water sources drying up, African Union Commission (AUC) deputy chair Erastus Mwencha said here yesterday.
He warned the development could have profound implications for food production in future.
Mwencha, who spoke during the opening of the first Climate Change and Development for Africa Conference said the continent was under threat from the effects of climate change.
“These extreme climate change events are projected to most likely continue with increasing frequencies and severity in impacts. All of Africa is very likely to warm during this century, a warming that is very likely to be larger than the global, annual mean warming and in all seasons. The worst-case scenarios . . . are that food crops and animals will shrink enough to have real implications for food security,” he said.
The AUC chief spoke as a new report on climate change released yesterday also showed many species of plants and other creatures have gone extinct over time owing to climate change.
David Bickford of the National University of Singapore’s biological sciences department said: “Survival of small individuals can increase with warmer temperatures, and drought conditions can lead to smaller offspring, leading to smaller average size.
“Impacts could range from food resources becoming more limited (less food produced on the same amount of land) to wholesale biodiversity loss and eventual catastrophic cascades of ecosystem services.”
The first conference on climate change and development in Africa, is part of efforts to strengthen the continent’s stance and participation at international negotiations on climate change.
The debate will bring together policy makers, academics and organisations involved in helping Africa catch up in terms of policy formulation and decision making on mitigating climate change effects.
Ethiopian deputy prime minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn said Africa was highly vulnerable to drought, the single most important climate related natural hazard impacting his country.