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Abstract

West Africa is among the most vulnerable regions to climate change worldwide. The often disastrous impact of climate variability and extreme events over the past thirty years is a striking illustration and a harbinger of this vulnerability. It is therefore urgent that decision-makers and the general public in West Africa be fully sensitized on the climatic challenges facing the region and actions to be taken, to enhance the region’s level of preparedness in order to cope with predictable impacts of climate variability and change and the associated extreme events.

Abstract

In recent years, global warming has come to the fore as one of the world’s most serious environmental problems. Meanwhile, over the past ten years, international negotiations and the accumulation of scientific knowledge in this field have led to remarkable progress — such as the adoption and entry into force of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, and the release of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Abstract

Increasing concentrations of CO2 and other gases seem likely to warm the earth in the next century. The article examines opportunities to prepare for the consequences, focussing on options that are rational even if one is skeptical about global warming. Some responses can be postponed. But many low-cost opportunities will slip away if we fail to act; and reaching a consensus on what is fair is easier when the consequences seem remote. It concludes that some changes in land use and water allocation should be implemented today, even if effective dates are several decades in the future.

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