17 December 2004

SA temps may rise up to 3%

Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told delegates to an international conference in Buenos Aires on Wednesday that temperatures could rise between one and three percent by the middle of this century in South Africa.

He was speaking at the 10th conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Argentinean capital.

Van Schalkwyk said it had also been projected that rainfall would be reduced by between five and 10% in this time.

"South Africa cannot afford not to act because climate change will change the way we live," said Van Schalkwyk.

"The increased temperatures and reduced rainfall will have a major impact on our people with health problems like increased skin cancer rates and waterborne diseases."

Heated discussion

He also predicted that there would be a drop in food production including an estimated drop of 20% in grain production, the extinction of numerous plant and animal species, and the certainty of prolonged and intense water restrictions.

The effects of climate change held challenges for developing nations in terms of developing appropriate responses like the loss of markets relating to reduced demand for coal exports.

"This is why the question of adaptation to climate change has been the subject of such heated discussion," said Van Schalkwyk.

"Governments need to adapt to climate change through measures like improved health programmes, better water resource management, disaster management, and agricultural diversification.

"At the same time we need also to mitigate (against) climate change itself and for this we require much more intensive research and development into renewable energy resources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, more energy efficient transport and housing models, less consumptive agriculture, and a real transfer of technology and skills from the developed to the developing nations."


Post a Comment

<< Home