Kenya to take economic hit from rising temperatures

Extremely high humidity caused by climate change is more likely to be a precursor to the effects of mental health.

Photo credit: STR / AFP

What you need to know:

  • A predictive research model shows that rising temperatures in the country will negatively affect the economy.
  • Study, notes that Kenya’s economy could shrink by about 9.1 per cent by 2050 should the average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  •  A study of the economic impact of climate change on vulnerable countries report was released during the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

A predictive research model shows that rising temperatures in the country will negatively affect the economy.

The study, published by Christian Aid, a global charity organisation, notes that Kenya’s economy could shrink by about 9.1 per cent by 2050 should the average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The findings highlight the devastating economic impact climate change will inflict on the world’s most vulnerable countries if action is not taken in advance. The Lost and Damaged: A study of the economic impact of climate change on vulnerable countries report was released during the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

 It lays out the grim economic future of some of the poorest countries, underlining the need for a robust system to reduce emissions.

According to the coordinator of the study Marina Andrijevic, an economist at Humboldt University in Berlin, by 2050, the economies of these countries are still expected to be higher than they are today.

 “Based on historical relationships between GDP growth and climate variables, here we project how a future under climate change might affect economic performance,” she said
She added: “It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers are just increasing and focus on the impact of rising temperatures, not the effects of extreme weather events.

It is possible that these numbers are conservative estimates if extreme weather events continue to cause substantial economic harm themselves in the coming decades.”

Mr Mohamed Adow, the director of the Nairobi-based climate and energy think tank Power Shift Africa, noted: “This report shows the scale of the economic disaster facing Africa due to climate change. The fact that eight of the 10 most impacted countries are from our continent underlines the threat that we face if we don’t tackle global emissions urgently, but also shows the glaring need for a concrete loss and damage mechanism to deal with this economic fallout.

“Africa has done the least to cause climate change yet this report shows it will face the most severe consequences. That is deeply unjust,” he said while in Glasgow. He further expressed frustration that Africa seems to have been side lined at the Glasgow talks.

“The fact that rich countries have consistently blocked efforts to set up a loss and damage fund to deal with this injustice is shameful. That attitude needs to change here in Glasgow. Not only because it is needed, but the bill will only get bigger if rich countries continue to ignore the needs of the most vulnerable,” he said.

Extreme heat

Dr Friederike Otto, a senior lecturer in climate science at Imperial College London, believes heat waves in Africa are largely under-reported.

“Heat waves everywhere in the world are getting hotter and more frequent because of climate change and will continue to worsen as long as emissions continue.

“Not only is extreme heat deadly, it also can make it impossible to work outdoors, so tropical and equatorial countries will suffer increasing economic damage if the big polluters don’t take action to reduce emissions,” he said.

As per the peer-reviewed study, estimates show that based on current climate policies, if global temperature rise reaches 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the world’s most vulnerable countries can expect to suffer an average GDP hit of -19.6 per cent by 2050 and -63.9 per cent by 2100.

The report notes that even if countries keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius as set out in the Paris Agreement, vulnerable countries face an average GDP reduction of -13.1 per cent by 2050 and -33.1 per cent by 2100.

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