The African continent and the special situation/vulnerability principle in the climate change regime
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Although the impact of climate change is global, these consequences are not evenly distributed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Working Group II Report makes it clear that Africa is one of the continents most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.1 During the twentieth century alone, the African continent has seen an average warming of 0,5 degrees.2 Climate variability and change will have a significant effect on the following: access to and demand for water, the agricultural sector, the use of energy, the health sector, coastal zones, tourism, settlements and infrastructure, as well as aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.3 The African continent is, however, not responsible for this dire situation. The African contribution to climate change is negligible. African states contributed a meagre 3,6 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 and the per capita contributions from most African states are also minute.
- Faculty of Law