South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa speaks with her Indian counterpart, Minister Harsh Vardhan, at a meeting in Durban on Sunday. Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO, INLSA
Durban - Failure to address climate change will see levels of the Indian Ocean rise, leading to Durban’s beachfront walkways being permanently covered in water.

This was one of the scenarios painted by Brazil’s deputy environmental affairs minister Antônio Carvalho when he and his three counterparts from the BRICS block of nations addressed the media in Durban on Sunday.

Carvalho, alongside SA Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, India’s Minister Harsh Vardhan and China’s Xie Zhenhua, held a two-day Basic Ministerial Co-ordination Meeting in the city at the weekend.

“If nothing is done, ordinary people will suffer and will have to pay for that. If it (climate change) raises the sea levels how would Durban’s coastline be? Certainly these beautiful seaside walkways would disappear,” he said.

Carvallo said to deal with climate change and save the world, the international community should by 2020 implement resolutions taken in Paris five years ago to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere . He said Brazil, like South Africa, was experiencing a “serious” drought.

“Water stress is not only here in South Africa, specifically Cape Town, it’s also happening in my capital city in Brazil.

“We go through four days without water because of water stress,” he said.

Northern KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town had to depend on trucks to deliver water because of severe droughts. “It (climate change) will have an impact on different rainforests, in the infrastructure, in the way you produce food and in the way the economy is run. That is what we are trying to avoid,” he said.

Carvalho said the world’s average temperature had risen, which was why there were bad floods and droughts.

Molewa said South Africa was also coming up with its own environment-saving concept, which President Cyril Ramaphosa would soon introduce.

“There is a whole lot of waste that is not helpful, which is why we are going to roll out the concept in a co-ordinated manner,” she said.

The Mercury