Over the next few weeks, tens of thousands of people will gather in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for the annual United Nations’ climate talks. COP27 is the first such gathering to be held in Africa since 2016, bringing attention to a region that’s suffering the worst impacts of climate change while having contributed the least to it.
Africa is also seeing some of the fastest population growth globally — the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to almost double to 2.1 billion people by 2050, according to UN projections. But the continent currently suffers from a severe shortage of weather stations that can provide good climate data. Only 40% of people in Africa have access to early warning systems that can protect them against extreme weather events and the impacts of climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). One reason is cost: A single weather station can cost up to $20,000 to install.
For the latest episode of Zero, Bloomberg Green reporter Laura Millan tells the story of weather station 61223, located on the outskirts of Timbuktu in Mali. The station had operated continuously for 115 years, and was a valuable store of historical weather data, before it was shut down due to civil conflict. Laura explains what its closure means for the people of Mali, and what a lack of reliable weather data means for climate discussions at COP27.