A Scan of Critical World Developments
Climate Disempowerment in Africa
The countries most at risk from climate change are often those who bear little responsibility for creating the problem in the first place. The economic downturn in Zambia offers an excellent example. Cheap, plentiful hydroelectricity from the vast Kariba Dam helped make the country an economic success story. Until now. Severe droughts, intensified by climate change, have caused the water level in Kariba to fall so much that electric generation, which usually accounts for more than 40 percent of the power in Zambia, now provides only about one-fourth. A lack of stable power has led to frequent blackouts, harming both large and small businesses, especially a copper industry already struggling from falling prices. In the recent deal in Paris, affluent nations pledged to contribute $100 billion a year to fund climate adaptations, but whether they will carry through with this non-binding promise is uncertain. For now, climate change is drying up prospects for the future in southern Africa.