While the world speaks of an upcoming climate crisis, some countries are already living it. Sophia Gebreyes, Ethiopia Country Director of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), explains that the country has over 3 million internally displaced people, most of which are either displaced by climate impacts or by conflict. With these conflicts mostly down to competition over resources, the prospect of a warming climate presents a challenge too big to bear.
"Ethiopia is a country that's heavily affected by climate change and this is something that's already happening. It's not something that we project into the future. Currently we have more than 3 million IDPs (internally displaced people) in the country. I think Ethiopia has topped the list of countries with the highest number of IDPs. Some are climate change induced IDPs and some are conflict induced IDPs. But when you scratch the surface really, it's all the conflict is all about competition for resources.
So it's really also related to climate change and the major climate change risk that the country is facing and has gone through over and over and over again are recurring droughts in the country, which are becoming more intense and more frequent and mostly unpredictable. The next [drought] would be even stronger and more destructive than the one before. And because it's very frequent, people don't have the ability to build resilience and withstand the shock. There's just never enough time for people to rebuild and to have resilience.
So that's the main problem and we're living that now – and we've been living that for many many years. So for us 1.5 degrees would be catastrophic because what we're living through now at one degree is terrible for the people. For the people and for their livelihoods."