Climate Change Conversations

https://alumniacademy.yale.edu/climate-change-conversations#Upcoming

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Alison Richard – Faculty – Yale Alumni Academy

Alison Richard – Faculty – Yale Alumni Academy

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Madagascar: Climate Change in a Hypervariable Environment

Yale Alumni Academy – Streamed live on Nov 7, 2022

Climate models predict that Madagascar will become warmer over the decades ahead and the south, in particular, will be significantly hotter and drier. At this time, the south is beset by extended drought and food shortages, and Madagascar was held up as a posterchild for the devastation wrought by human-driven global climate changes at the 2021 UN Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

But this characterization has been challenged: intermittent droughts have long been typical of the region, and some argue that government mismanagement and long neglect bear substantial responsibility for the current famine. I offer an additional perspective in this lecture. Climate unpredictability, including periodic failures of rainfall in the south, has characterized Madagascar for millions of years.

Evolutionary adaptations to this hypervariability are widespread among the island’s unique wildlife, and Malagasy farmers have developed strategies to cope with the uncertain conditions for agriculture. The long-term climate changes ahead are not in doubt, but both the wildlife and people of Madagascar may be better prepared to respond to them than is generally appreciated.

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