#Climate Change#2: South Africa’s vulnerability to climate change

Regarding the vulnerability and possibility of adaptation to the effects of climate change, South Africa mentions in its report to UNFCCC¹ that changes are likely to become more apparent in the coming years, affecting in a large scale the availability of water, the agriculture productivity, the biodiversity and the coastal and marine environment. Although the country has got specific sector plans to increase the resilience of its environment, the level of vulnerability is relevant as well as the possible impacts, and the adaptation measures are constrained by the uncertain effects of climate change.

Taking a look at the two main vulnerability and adaptation indexes available, the situation is confirmed. DARA², in its report called «Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010», foresee a worsening in the country’s vulnerability between 2010 and 2030, particularly in the dimension defined as “habitat loss” and in a smaller scale for “economic stress”. The situation about habitat loss is common to most of Sub-Saharan region, which means that one of the most valuable areas in the world in terms of biodiversity is extremely threatened. In its turn, the GAIN Index, whose approach add to the vulnerability the capacity of a country to absorb the impacts and increase its resilience, put South Africa in a negative trend as well. Concerns with food capacity, health workers and infrastructure are highlighted among the vulnerabilities, whereas tertiary education levels is a concern when it comes to the capacity to face the challenges posted by climate issues.

The conclusion is that, besides its carbon intensive economy as showed in my first blog regarding this topic, South Africa is likely to be extensively affected by the global climate change. National government is already undertaking actions to face this challenge, but the velocity and anticipation of the responses will be crucial if the predictions about climate are confirmed.


¹ South Africa’s Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (available at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/snc_south_africa_.pdf)

² http://daraint.org/about-us/

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