COP 28 was held in Dubai from the 30th November to the 12th December 2023.Climate change has already started to impact South Africa in several ways:
- Temperature Increase: Since 1990, the national average temperature in South Africa has increased twice as fast as global temperatures.
- Water Security: Climate impacts on water security are severe, with more frequent droughts and water shortages resulting in water scarcity in parts of the country. The “Day Zero” disaster in Cape Town was southern Africa’s worst and most renowned drought.
- Agriculture and Food Security: Variable rainfall causes flooding in specific regions and drought in others, decreasing agricultural production and raising food prices and food insecurity. The timing of apple and pear blossoming in the southwest Cape and jacaranda flowering in Gauteng is now earlier, reflecting the temperature increases in the country.
- Biodiversity: The biodiversity in South Africa is under threat as increased temperatures and changes in weather patterns cause irreversible damage4. Sardine runs along the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal have also been delayed due to warmer sea surface temperatures.
- Extreme Weather Events: Extreme climatic events are happening more frequently and with greater intensity.
These impacts highlight the urgent need for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in South Africa. South Africa has implemented several strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change:
- National Climate Change Response Policy: This policy framework guides South Africa’s adaptation and mitigation efforts. Its main objective is to address the inevitable impacts of climate change and make a fair contribution to global efforts to stabilize, and ultimately reduce, greenhouse gas emissions.
- Low-Carbon Transition: According to the World Bank’s Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR), South Africa can combat climate change and concurrently develop a more accessible and sustainable economy by implementing a low-carbon transition, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and investing in new technology.
- Green Initiatives: South Africa is encouraging citizens to adopt green practices, such as installing solar geysers and energy-efficient light bulbs, buying more locally grown food, and separating and recycling waste.
- Long Term Mitigation Scenarios: South Africa has developed long-term mitigation scenarios that focus on greenhouse gas emission reductions and limits, strengthening current initiatives, preparing for the future, prioritizing vulnerability and adaptation, and integrating and institutionalizing climate change work.
These strategies highlight South Africa’s commitment to combating climate change and its impacts. However, the effectiveness of these strategies will depend on their implementation and the country’s ability to adapt to changing climate conditions.
Combatting climate change is everyone’s responsibility. Should you require assistance in developing a strategy for your business to combat climate change please contact our offices for professional advice in this regard.