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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Atlas shows effects of climate change in Africa

    [...]
    Although Africa produces only 4 percent of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions, its inhabitants are expected by some officials to suffer most from the consequences of climate change.

    "Africa is one of the regions least responsible for climate change, and is also least able to afford the costs of adaptation," said Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, South Africa's minister of environmental affairs and tourism.

    According to the atlas, Africa is losing nearly 10 million acres of forest every year -- twice the world's average deforestation rate. Some areas of the continent are losing over 55.12 tons of soil per 2.5 acres each year, the atlas says.

    The atlas also appears to illustrate that erosion as well as chemical and physical damage have degraded about 65 percent of the continent's farmlands. The migration of refugees is causing further pressure on the environment, the atlas says.

    Besides well-publicized changes, such as Mount Kilimanjaro's shrinking glaciers, the drying up of Lake Chad and falling water levels in Lake Victoria, the atlas offers documentation of new or lesser known environmental changes.

    These include the disappearance of glaciers in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains and forests in Madagascar, and the loss of Cape Town's unique 'fynbos' shrubland vegetation.

    The atlas shows the swell of gray-colored cities over once-green countryside, the tracks of road networks through forests and the erosion of deltas.

    It shows the dramatic expansion of cities such as Senegalese capital Dakar, which has grown over the past 50 years from a small urban center at the tip of the Cap Verde Peninsula to a metropolitan area with 2.5 million people spread over the entire peninsula.

    [...]

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