Climate change has a bright side too: How SA plans to put a positive spin on global warming
- SA's draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) is just about ready to be published, judging by a slick new version published on Monday.
- It proposes one key message be punted to the public: adapting to changes such as global warming can build a strong South Africa.
- The communications strategy will also point out that, while climate change could be dire, it will also come with investment opportunities.
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South Africa's masterplan to deal with climate change will come with something of a mixed message, according to a slick new draft of the document published on Monday.
On the one hand, poor people will be vulnerable to the ravages of more frequent extreme weather events, and failure to adapt to higher temperatures and unpredictable rainfall could spell trouble.
On the other hand, climate change presents investment opportunities – and South Africa could actually come out of it stronger.
The draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) is intended to provide "a common vision of climate change adaptation and climate resilience" for SA, with an outline of priorities. The last major draft was published for public comment in October 2017. On Monday environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane published a new draft which, although still open for public comment until early June, has been laid out with colour-coded chapters and graphics, ready to be published as a booklet.
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South Africa is already experiencing the effects of higher temperatures, the strategy document holds, and there "is evidence that extreme weather events in South Africa are increasing", with more to come.
But it's not necessarily all bad, according to the outline of a communication strategy that accompanies the strategy. In fact, South Africa could still come out ahead.
"Planning for climate change ensures that South Africa is in a position to leverage opportunities that arise due to changing climatic conditions and enhance its global competitiveness," reads the explanation of one "subsidiary message" proposed as part of the communication campaign.
Another message is due to highlight the investment opportunities that will come with climate change adaptation.
"New funding flows to support adaptation represent the biggest acceleration of development investment since the achievement of democracy in South Africa. This provides a unique opportunity to both ensure climate resilience and achieve development aspirations."
These messages are due to be communicated alongside warnings of the impact that climate change will have on development, and the vulnerability of poor people in particular to more frequent extreme weather events, under the banner "adapting to build a strong South Africa".
This is the complete list of "subsidiary messages" proposed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS):
South Africa needs to adapt to climate change: Sustained warming and increasing rainfall variability over the short to medium term (the next two to three decades) will have increasingly adverse effects on key sectors of South Africa’s economy in the absence of effective adaptation responses.
Climate change threatens development: The projected adverse effects of ongoing climate change in South Africa are likely to threaten the achievement of urgent national development needs, and well-founded aspirations to address historical inequities.
The poor are most vulnerable to climate change impacts: The increasing frequency of extreme weather events is likely to have a disproportionate impact on the poorest in society (both rural and urban), amplifying existing social inequalities. The poor typically have limited opportunities and, consequently, are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change.
The NCCAS will give South Africa an advantage in the future: Planning for climate change ensures that South Africa is in a position to leverage opportunities that arise due to changing climatic conditions and enhance its global competitiveness.
Climate change presents investment opportunities: New funding flows to support adaptation represent the biggest acceleration of development investment since the achievement of democracy in South Africa. This provides a unique opportunity to both ensure climate resilience and achieve development aspirations.
Transformational change: Transformational, systemic change is required to address the challenges presented by climate change.
The need for integration and collaboration: Sectoral and integrated cross-sectoral approaches are essential to building societal resilience in a holistic way.
Linkages between adaptation and mitigation are increasingly vital: This is because there is an intensified international focus on keeping global warming below 2°C, and therefore adaptation responses need to be cognisant of their mitigation implications. At the same time, the adverse impacts of climate change on resource availability potentially limits energy development options. An adaptation and mitigation strategy requires integrated planning.
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