South African is faced with many environmental issues today, of which one of those environmental issues is climate change. And I have chosen this type of environmental issue to conduct an assignment about. Firstly to understand this type of environmental issue, climate change is defined as a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onward and attributed largely to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. And in my essay I will firstly discuss the causes of this issues in South Africa, then illustrate by means of data what the nature and extent of this issue, also discuss the implementation’s, and provide possible solutions to this issues that south Africans are still facing today.
2. THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE BY MEANS OF DATA
According to (Wiley J;Sons.2014, 605-606) Climate change is a key concern within South Africa. Mean annual temperatures have increased by at least 1.5 times the observed global average of 0.65 degree Celsius over the past 5 decades and extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency. These changes are likely to continue; the 2013 South African Long Term Adaptation Scenarios and the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 suggest warming relative to 1986-2005 of 3-6 degree Celsius but 2081-2100 in the interior, yet less certain precipitation changes in terms of both direction and magnitude. South Africa is a 7, 4 metric ton developing country and it contributed 42% of total emission of carbon dioxide in Africa.
According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, between 1880 and 2012, global temperatures increased by 0.85 degree Celsius. The organisation asserts that sea levels have risen by 19cm from 1901 to 2010 as a result of melting and glacial retreat. ”From cape town to Houston mayors are seeing severe drought, storms, fires and more,” said Antha Williams, head of environmental programmes at Bloomberg Philanthropies and C40 board member. Major South African centres are at risk from the effects of climate change says an international report. Four coastal cities Cape town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East Landon, and Paarl which is an island, are at the risk of flooding by 2050, says C40 cities Future We Don’t Want report. According to the organisation, which could connects 96 global cities; rising sea levels could have a devastating impact on South Africa as the effects of climate change hits. C40 says that 800 million people, living in 570 coastal cities could be affected by rising sea levels by 2050. (News24:2018).
3. CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change can be caused by many factors including us human beings. Climate change should not be understood as a single ’cause’ or a ‘single set of effects’ there are many elements of changing climate: increase in Arctic temperatures, reduced size of icebergs, melting of icecaps and glaciers, reduced permafrost, change in rainfall, reduced biodiversity. New wind patterns, more droughts and heat waves, and more frequent tropical cyclones and other extreme weather event, according to Urry (2011:6).
The greenhouse effect: shortwave radiation from the sun is absorbed by the earth’s surface which, in turn, Greenhouse effect radiates heat at far longer wavelength because of its temperature of around 280*k, compared with around 6000*k for the sun.
The global climate system is driven by energy from the sun, several gases in the atmosphere act to trap the energy from the sun, thus warming the earth. This are called greenhouse gases and the process is the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have an effect on the global heat balance, since carbon dioxide is virtually transparent to incoming solar radiation but absorbs outgoing terrestrial’s infra-red radiation to incoming that would otherwise escape to space and result in the loss of heat from the lower atmosphere (figure1). This is called the greenhouse effects
Greenhouse gas effect which maintains its higher internal temperature largely because the shelter it offers reduces the turbulent transfers of energy away from the surface rather than because of any radioactive considerations. Thus while the greenhouse effect remains valid and vital.
Global temperatures have risen over the past century by at least 0.7 degree Celsius. This increase appears to be the result of higher levels of greenhouse gases GHGs in the earth’s atmosphere. Such GHGs trap the sun’s rays. As a result of this greenhouse effect, the earth warms.
4. IMPLICATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE HAS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Climate change poses a significant threat to South Africans water resources, food security, health, infrastructure, as well as its ecosystem services and biodiversity. Considering South Africans high levels of poverty and inequality, these implications bring critical changes for national development.
South African citizens should be concerned about climate change because it may lead to many problems if these issues is not addressed or attended to. The following are the implication that south Africans are at risk of facing if this environmental issue is not giving enough attentions: rising in the sea levels could lead to massive storm surges that could raise water levels by up to 6cm, increased frequency and intensity of the storms and floods, an increase in droughts, ocean acidification, global warming ecosystem changes will affect various species, growing inequality, water, energy and food shortages impacts on industry and areas where people live in and an increase in diseases In business report. People in different provinces in South Africa are faced with the implications of climate change; people in the Western Cape are also facing the threat of long-term drought as a result of climate change (News24, 2018).
As we can note, climate change has many implications and most importantly people in South Africa should be worried about their health as climate change can have various impacts on human health. Climate change is likely to have widespread, diverse, and on the whole negative impacts on human health. The impacts include changes in location and incidence of infectious and diarrhoeal diseases, increases in air and water pollution in many location, increase in risk of heat stress, increases in intensity and frequency of many extreme events, and increased risks of malnutrition and other consequences of poor food quality. In addition, disruption of natural ecosystems could enable the further spread of infectious diseases, and climate change- induced human migration can be injurious to mental and physical health. On the whole, climate change has begun to negatively affect the human health (Lisa et al., 2009:411).
Many crops yield are delicately dependent on a particular mix of temperatures, soil conditions, and rainfall patterns that could be disrupted by global warming. High latitudes region that would become available for agriculture may not provide such favourable conditions. Rescued yields and less-than-needed yield improvements, combined with growing population and higher food prices, could seriously jeopardize the world’s food security (Urry. 2011:5).
Freshwater supplies; global warming would reduce stream flows and increase pressure on groundwater while worsening the pollution discharge into smaller flows. This effect could exacerbate the worlds existing water problems. However it is clear that there are many implication as to regards to climate change and these implications are bought by the causes of climate change so if the causes of this environmental issue are to be ignored or not dealt with, South African citizens may find themselves experiencing these implications or problems.