South Africa is a mostly semi-arid country, with drought and floods being the most common natural disasters. Natural disasters are however not experienced on a regular basis, making the country’s weather rather predictable. The country’s mean rainfall varies from a yearly 100mm in the arid western areas, to up to 1000mm in the Mediterranean regions of the beautiful green eastern and southern coasts. Climate change is becoming a reality world-wide and South African research and future climate assimilation are showing no different results. The country’s climate will change quite radically, according to the latest available research, as discussed at the recent COP17 gathering in Durban, 2011.
The expectations are that the country will experience an increase in drier weather in the western part of the country, but wetter in the eastern part of the country. Extreme weather events and natural disasters, across the entire country, is the accepted norm for the future. How far in the future can this be expected? It might already be here. South Africa has already experienced a tornado and cyclone in 2012 in the eastern and northern parts of the country.
Thus the research info is out, and we might even have experienced this start of the country’s future climate…but what actions are being taken on the ground to safeguard the country, its population and resources? The South African Department of Environmental Affairs acknowledges that (future?) climate change is a threat to the country’s socio-economic development. On the other hand, it acknowledges that it may contribute to the development and establishment of the country’s green economy. Again, plenty of discussion, but what changed ways are being implemented? The country’s private sector and middle-higher income groups are already under heavy pressure and strict legislation to enforce transformation. But, one may ask, is it reasonable of the government to rely on the private sector, certain income groups to manifest change?
Might there be more than one storm brewing here?