Southern Africa

Southern Africa

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report: What’s in it for southern Africa?

This factsheet highlights:

  1. How southern Africa’s climate is already changing
  2. Southern Africa’s future climate 
  3. Climate change impacts we have already seen in southern Africa
  4. Future climate risks in southern Africa 
  5. Southern Africa’s potential to adapt
  6. Key investment areas for a climate-resilient southern Africa

Look out for our upcoming publications on the remaining four sub-regions in the next few weeks. These factsheets will be available in French (West and Central Africa), Portuguese (southern Africa) and Arabic (North Africa) in the coming months.

Changes in global surface temperature

The Earth’s average surface temperature is expected to reach or surpass 1.5°C of warming above preindustrial times (1850–1900) in the near term (up to 2040),
according to the IPCC’s most recent assessment.

Constraints for the African continent that make it more difficult to plan and implement adaptation

The ability of southern African communities and sectors to pursue effective adaptation options to the full is constrained by lack of finance.

Severe heat stress duration for cattle in Africa with increased global warming

KEY: (A) Number of days per year with severe heat stress in the historical climate (1985–2014). (B and C) Increase in the number of days per year with severe heat stress for global warming of 1.5°C and 3.75°C above pre-industrial levels (1850–2100). Heat stress is estimated using a high Temperature Humidity Index value (Livestock Weather Safety Index).

Compounding risks to multiple African countries

Climate change is already challenging the health and wellbeing of African communities, compounding the effects of underlying inequalities (high confidence).

Percentage change in GDP per capita for countries in southern Africa due to observed climate change (1991–2010)

In one estimate, African countries’ GDP per capita was on
average 13.6% lower over the period 1991–2010, compared to if human induced climate change had not occurred

Map of southern Africa

Graphic map of southern Africa.

Risk of biodiversity loss across Africa with increasing global warming

With every increment of global warming, the risk of biodiversity loss and species’ extinction increases across Africa.

Energy: Coal fired power station

Image of a very large coal fired power station in Tutuka, South Africa

Courtesy of Peter & Georgina Bowater/Fotosearch