According to Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative
Droughts, floods, storms, landslides, and wildfires are becoming more prevalent across the globe due to climate change. In South Africa, more than 100 natural disasters were reported from 1900 to 2017, affecting 21 million people, causing 2200 fatalities, and with an estimated loss of 4.5 billion USD. More recently, in April 2022, severe flooding in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa resulted in over 400 fatalities, with more than 12000 houses destroyed and more than 40000 people displaced.
South Africa is currently ranked 96 out of 182 countries assessed under the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index which ranks countries according to their vulnerability to climate change and their preparedness to enhance resilience. The ND-GAIN index indicates that South Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change.
Under a high-emission scenario (RCP 8.5), it is projected that the mean monthly temperature in South Africa will increase by 2 °C by 2050. The country is likely to experience extreme events such as floods and droughts. Increased frequency of droughts and floods will affect the quality of water, agriculture, and livestock and will pose a major threat to food security. Floods also result in a frequency increase of waterborne diseases and cause severe damage to infrastructures such as roads and railways. The tourism industry is also likely to be affected.
Two major steps that are likely to mitigate the impacts of climate change are the Just Energy Transition Partnership and the Climate Change Bill. The Just Energy Transition Partnership was announced at COP26 and is a partnership between the UK, EU, and US to mobilize 8.5 billion USD to assist South Africa in transitioning towards a lower carbon economy. The Climate Change Bill was published on 11 October 2021. The purpose of this Bill is “to enable the development of an effective climate change response and a long-term, just transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy and society for South Africa in the context of sustainable development, and to provide for matters connected therewith.”
- World Bank Group. 2021. South Africa. https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country/south-africa/vulnerability [Accessed September 2022].
- South Africa: Floods and Landslides – Apr 2022. https://reliefweb.int/disaster/fl-2022-000201-zaf [Accessed September 2022].
- Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative. 2022. Rankings. https://gain.nd.edu/our-work/country-index/rankings/ [Accessed September 2022].
- World Bank Group. 2021. Climate Risk Country Profile – South Africa. https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/country-profiles/15932-WB_South%20Africa%20Country%20Profile-WEB.pdf [Accessed September 2022].
- Government of South Africa. 2022. Government hosts joint media briefing on Just Energy Transition Partnership, 22 Jun. https://www.gov.za/speeches/presidency-hosts-joint-media-briefing-just-energy-transition-partnership-jetp-22-jun-22-jun [Accessed September 2022].
- Climate Change Bill. https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/202203/b9-2022.pdf [Accessed September 2022].
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard South Africa Country Manager Deepti Charitar