Cape Town - Human-induced climate change is one of the greatest threats to achieving sustainable development in South Africa, the government says.
According to its National Climate Change Response Green Paper 2010, South Africa is a water-stressed, developing country still dealing with the legacy of apartheid, poverty and unemployment, the gap between rich and poor, and low education levels as it attempts to deliver basic services.
“South Africa is both a contributor to and potential victim of global climate change, given that it has an energy-intensive, fossil-fuel powered economy and is also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability and change.
“Against this national context, government accepts the conclusions of the (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 4th Assessment Report that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that it is very likely that the increase in (human-induced) greenhouse gas concentrations is responsible for much of this warming trend since the mid-20th century.
“Government also believes that climate change, if unmitigated, also has the potential to undo or undermine many of the positive advances made in meeting South Africa’s own development goals and the Millennium Development Goals.”
The government acknowledges that stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations will require an “effective and binding” global agreement.
“Together with all the other countries responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, and considering its developing country status, South Africa as a responsible global citizen is committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions in order to successfully facilitate (such an) agreement.”
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