SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 9 (Reuters) – As delegates to the COP27 climate conference discuss the common problem of climate change, each country will face its own challenges and threats.
In February, the UN climate science agency released a major report on adapting to a warmer world – and detailed how that effort would differ from place to place. While some countries see glaciers melting or coastlines rising, others will mainly face raging wildfires and extreme heat, according to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. .
This will require different investments and solutions as communities seek to adapt. Here are some of the ways climate change will affect countries in each region:
Countries with territory in the Himalayan Mountains or its foothills, including China, India, Nepal and Pakistan, could face flash floods, the report said. As the ice melts, water can pool behind rocky ridges to form lakes. And when these rocks give way, the water rushes in, endangering mountain communities downstream.
Further south, mosquitoes carrying diseases such as dengue fever and malaria are expected to spread to new parts of subtropical Asia, encouraged by warmer temperatures and heavy rains.
And hundreds of millions of people will be on the move. A World Bank report warned in September that climate impacts, including water scarcity and declining crop yields, could force some 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050. .
Living on the hottest continent in the world, Africans are at a particularly high risk of suffering from heat stress. If global warming exceeds pre-industrial levels by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), at least 15 more people in every 100,000 would die each year from extreme heat, according to the IPCC.
Africa’s population is likely to grow faster than any other during the 21st century, with many people living in coastal cities. By 2060, more than 200 million people in Africa are expected to be vulnerable to sea level rise.
Nigeria’s coastal capital, Lagos, is on track to become the most populous city in the world by 2100. Population growth across the continent could also increase resource scarcity.
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
The Amazon rainforest and the thousands of diverse plants and animals it supports are highly vulnerable to drought and forest fires, made worse by farmers clearing the trees for agriculture.
Droughts, storms and floods will worsen in parts of the Andes, northeastern Brazil and parts of Central America. Coupled with geopolitical and economic instability, these impacts could lead to waves of migration.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as zika, chikungunya and dengue could make more people sick.
The 2019 summer heatwave offered only a glimpse of what awaits Europe if warming reaches 3 degrees Celsius. At such temperatures, cases of heat stress and heat-related deaths would double or even triple compared to 1.5°C.
Beyond the 3Cs, “there are limits to the adaptive potential of people and existing health systems,” the IPCC report says.
Damage from coastal flooding is expected to go well beyond the sinking of Venice, increasing at least 10 times by the end of the century.
And despite Europe’s relative wealth, current adaptation measures are insufficient. Scientists predict continued deaths from heat, crop failure and water rationing during the drought in southern Europe for decades to come.
Large wildfires will continue to scorch forests and darken skies across the western United States and Canada, causing destruction of nature and livelihoods while contributing to air pollution and some water.
Even if global warming is held to 1.5°C, many parts of the United States will be at high risk of severe storms and hurricanes, in addition to flooding from rising sea levels and storm surges.
On Monday, the country’s fifth National Climate Assessment warned that these events would threaten “what Americans value most,” such as safe homes, healthy families, public services and a sustainable economy. The IPCC also said such climate impacts would disrupt global supply chains and international trade.
And in the Arctic, melting sea ice, warming temperatures and thawing permafrost will push many species to the brink of extinction. In a new report on Monday, scientists predicted that summer sea ice will disappear entirely by 2030.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and kelp forests will reach a hard adaptation limit above 1.5°C, undergoing irreversible changes from marine heatwaves. Tourism revenues would fall sharply, the IPCC said.
Extreme fires would challenge southern and eastern Australia and parts of New Zealand.
And as Australia’s forests dry out, the alpine ash, snowgum forests and northern jarrah forests would then largely collapse.
Reporting by Gloria Dickie; Editing by Katy Daigle and Frank Jack Daniel
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