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Quantifying the Cost of Climate Change on Africa

According to the Power Shift Africa study, titled Adapt or Die: An analysis of African climate adaptation strategies, African countries will spend an average of 4% of GDP on adapting to climate breakdown. These countries include some of the world’s poorest people, whose responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions is many times less than those of people in developed countries, or in large emerging economies such as China. Sierra Leone will have to spend $90m a year on adapting to the climate crisis, though its citizens are responsible for about 0.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year each, while US citizens generate about 80 times more. The study examined national adaptation plans submitted to the UN by seven African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan and Togo. South Sudan, which is the world’s second poorest country, was hit by floods last year that displaced 850,000 people and led to outbreaks of water-borne diseases. The country is to spend $376m a year on adaptation, about 3.1% of its GDP. African countries are being forced to spend billions of dollars a year coping with the effects of the climate crisis, which is diverting potential investment from schools and hospitals and threatens to drive countries into ever deeper poverty.