Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change impacts regardless of its low contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. Since the industrial revolution (1751), the world has emitted over 1.5 trillion tonnes of Carbon-dioxide (CO2).
Historically, Africa contributed only 3% of the global historical contribution. According to Our World Data, today, China leads the list of international contributors to the CO₂ emission with 10 billion tonnes of CO₂ every year which is 27% of global emissions. When combined, the top ten emitters are responsible for 75% of global emissions.
Regardless of the statistics, Africa still suffers the consequences of climate change – even if they contribute very little to what causes the change.
Africa’s most significant population depends on small-scale agriculture, increasing the chances of vulnerability to climate change impacts.
For example, Sub-Saharan Africa has 95% of rain-fed agriculture globally; and should global warming keep rising, extreme poverty would be a guarantee in these areas. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which gathered evidence from various climate scientific observations, the last four decades have increasingly been warmer. Due to this increase, damaging climate events such as droughts may rise in both frequency and intensity.
According to the United Nations Fact Sheet on Climate Change, the total available water in the large basins of Niger, Lake Chad, and Senegal has decreased by 40–60%. This considerable decrease could lead to many economic issues. Without the efforts to reduce the consequences of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, progress towards achieving the SDGs may be futile.
Climate change is a critical challenge to the lives of the people of Africa. Africans ought to take the lead in curbing climate change and its effects.
According to the African Development Bank, if the global temperature increase is kept within 2°C, the cost of adapting to climate change across Africa could reach $50 billion a year by 2050.
From increasing clean energy production capacity to discovering new technologies that use clean energy, African scientists can tremendously help reduce the amount of green gas Africa emits. However, there is one big challenge: there is a scarcity of scientists capable of researching a world-class scale to help African policy make the right decision and invest in areas that matter.
Consequently, AIMS is putting in the effort to build the intellectual capital required to increase our understanding of the causative factors of climate change and address the myriad challenges to Africa’s development arising from climate change.
Through different partnerships, we have two grants programs, namely, the Small Research Grants in Climate Change Science; we support projects that use mathematical concepts to provide solutions to climate change issues in Africa. Additionally, the AIMS NEI Fellowship Program for Women in Climate Change Science seeks to foster increased female participation in and contribute to a more sustainable societal response to climate change.
AIMS contributes to the solution by building a pool of scientists and researchers to curb the Climate Change problem that has posed a significant threat to the continent.