IPCC released a new report on climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its fifth report on the impacts of climate change. The report is based on multi-disciplinary research on adaptation and mitigation options in different regions. GLM is particularly interested in the situation in southern Africa where the organisation operates.

Impacts will be worse in Africa than in many other regions of the world. The rise in mean temperatures will be faster than the global average increase. In all seasons, minimum and maximum temperatures will rise from 3 to 6 degree during this century. Extreme heat waves follow El Niño events, which means drought. Changes in precipitation are more difficult to forecast because of the lack of measuring it in the past, but decrease is possible, especially in the areas which are already dry.

Changes in the climate will have drastic impacts on the daily life in Africa. The small-scale farmers who GLM works with have already experienced this, since their livelihoods depend largely on agriculture and livestock. IPCC forecasts shorter growing seasons, negative effects on yields as well as changes in vegetation and pests. Agriculture in Zambia is focused on growing maize which may suffer up to 30% losses in yields after 2050. Farmers, therefore, need to start to diversifying their crops in order to ensure food security in the future. Cassava, for example, is resilient to higher temperatures.

Many countries have developed adaptation programmes, but implementation has been slow. The multi-disciplinary nature of climate change and variations in the impacts within each country have been a challenge. Many NGOs have taken responsibility for training local communities. GLM currently supports eight villages in Zambia and two in Swaziland. Our work provides villagers the opportunity to plan their future in a sustainable way. Agroforestry and diversification of livelihood sources are examples of ways to secure life.