Climate change worsened the flooding that killed more than 800 people across West Africa this summer, a new World Weather Attribution report finds. Climate change, mainly caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, made the extreme rainfall that set off the flooding in the Lake Chad and Lower Niger Basins, 20% wetter and 80 times more likely to occur than it would have been without climate change. Nigeria, along with Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin were hardest hit by the flooding, which has set off a cholera outbreak due to the lack of safe drinking water. Individually and collectively these countries are responsible for a negligible amount of climate pollution.
The report comes as an early draft of the COP27 final agreement includes scant details on the creation of a loss and damage fund to compensate developing countries for damages caused by climate change. “As scientists, we’re not in a position to tell COP27 negotiators whether it needs to be a loss and damage fund, or a facility, or a mosaic of solutions, as are all being discussed,” Prof. Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, told The Guardian. “But what is very clear from the science is that this is a real and present problem and that it’s particularly the poorest countries that are getting hit very hard, so it’s clear that solutions are needed.”
WWA also attempted to assess the 2021 drought across the Sahel, which has contributed to food shortages in the region, but was unable to develop conclusions regarding the influence of climate change due to a lack of weather station data. (The Guardian, New York Times $, AP, Washington Post $, Bloomberg $, AFP, Deutsche Welle, Carbon Brief; COP draft: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase)