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Pachauri: One Quarter of Africa Faces Drinking Water Shortage

Pachauri: One Quarter of Africans Face Shortage of Drinking Water (India), Aug. 30, 2009

Kolkata, Aug 29 (IANS) Twenty five percent of Africa experiences shortage of drinking water due to global warming, which is increasing at a higher rate now than in earlier decades, says noted environmentalist R.K. Pachauri.

"Climate changes due to greenhouse gas emissions will only exacerbate. More intense and larger droughts will be there. Twenty five percent of Africa and its population will experience high water stress," Pachauri said while delivering through video clip a lecture on "The environment and India: Quo Vadis? A temperate or a tempestuous future?"

By 2020, between 75 million and 250 million people across the African continent will be suffering from "water stress", said Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with former US vice president Al Gore.

Painting an alarming picture of the greenhouse effect, the director general of the Energy and Resources Institute said in recent decades, the rate of warming has been higher than in earlier decades.

"During the last 50 years, the increase has been twice as high as the figure for the last 100 years. The Arctic region is melting twice as much as other glaciers," he said during the address at the Environment and Energy Conclave organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The warming was leading to partial loss of ice sheets, while 20-30 percent of the species were at a risk of extinction.

He said coral reefs, mega deltas (including cities like Shanghai, Kolkata and Dhaka) and small island states were also extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels.

The developing countries were being worse hit because they did not have the financial  capability or institutional strength to cope up with the dangers precipitated by global warming.