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Case study: Climate change in Mozambique

Mozambique is a country in south east Africa with a population of more than 23 million. The countrys economy is largely based upon agriculture contributing to 40% of the nations GDP. The country is prone to natural hazards like tropical cyclones causing floods 3 or 4 times a year. Along with this it is also liable to suffer from severe cases of drought every 3 to 4 years killing about 4000 people from 1980 to 2000. Research by the Mozambique government has shown there is to be a rise in temperature from 1.8C to 3.2C by 2075 [1] and precipitation may also decline by 2 to 9 percent the effect of climate change. There are many natural causes for the change in Earths climate, for example changes in the Earths orbit, changes in energy received from the sun and the way the ocean and the atmosphere interact with each other, however strong evidence suggests that recent significant global warming cannot just be due to natural causes. The changes in temperature over the years are the result of human behaviour for example by burning fossil fuels carbon dioxide is released in to the air and this is known to be powerful greenhouse gas. In the UK 40% of CO2 emissions are caused by individuals from energy used in the home and transport [2]. Also due to the recent increase in deforestation, carbon dioxide is not taken out of the atmosphere by photosynthesis further increasing the concentration of CO2 in the air. Humans have increased CO2 concentrations by a third since the industrial revolution [3]. Figure 1: effect of increased co2 levels


UN has said Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change due to widespread poverty and drought. This could affect water availability, spread of disease, sea level rise and Mozambiques primary industry.

Mozambique boarded by Indian Ocean to the east.

Climate change can cause: -dry spells -unpredictable rainfall -flooding -drought These can all have a huge impact on agriculture and already 54% of the population live in poverty [4].

ATTIYA REHMAN Climate change could have a huge variety of effects on Mozambique e.g. increase in natural hazards drought, flood and tropical storms which are expected to become more intense, frequent and unpredictable [4] effecting agriculture, infrastructure and the countrys economy. The country has a high vulnerability to climatic hazards as shown by the El Nino in 1998 which led to drought and flooding triggering a national food emergency. The country may be able to deal with such problems in the short term however due to its weak infrastructure an increase in climatic hazards may prevent it from developing as it should. As Mozambique is an LEDC, it depends largely on agriculture and therefore changes in the environment may cause an increase in poverty and can lead to degradation of natural resources, leading to setbacks in development and infrastructure. Climate change can cause sea levels to rise due to global warming melting ice caps. Research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) predicts sea levels will rise by 96cms by 2100 and as 2/3s of the population live along the coastline [4] this would have an impact on many social and economic levels. Many of the countrys infrastructure (large cities, fertile land, industry, tourist destination) are situated along the coast and rise in sea level could mean many floods and more tropical storms. Climate change in Mozambique can trigger many economical and social struggles. By temperatures increasing agriculture will most likely decline due to the heat and crops not being able to grow properly, this also effecting many people socially as they may not have enough food to feed themselves and their families. Also as it is an LEDC it grows all crops itself and cant rely on exports as can MEDCs when climatic disasters occur. The impact climate change will have on Mozambique will be more than anywhere else in the world as it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Although it has been developing economically well by exporting natural resources, as a result of climate change this could start to decline effecting many lives. It has an exponentially rising population and due to the climate changes it may not be able to cope. The people of Mozambique are hardly responsible for the effects of global warming and unpredictable rainfall since it is still going through development it doesnt burn as much fossil fuels as MEDCs do.

Mozambique hardly produces any CO2 emissions however is receiving the most severe impacts of climate change due the widespread poverty and its lack of development.

Overall I think the countries who do contribute largely to climate change need to take into account the effects on LEDCs and their lack of equipment and economy to deal with the impacts climate change brings. Climate change will cause a major increase in poverty and decline in economy as agriculture contributes largely to the GDP of the country and according to the IPCC, there has already been an increase in temperature showing how much of a threat climate change really is and is unfair on the Mozambican people to have to deal with such consequences.


Figure 1: http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ [1] http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/mozambique-economics-adaptation-climatechange-study [2] http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Thewiderenvironment/Climatechange/ DG_072920 [3] http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ [4] http://www.care.dk/multimedia/pdf/web_english/Climate%20Change%20and%20Poverty%20in%20 Mozambique-Country%20Profile.pdf