Image: Vitaly Vlasov/ Pexels
Image: Vitaly Vlasov/ Pexels

Climate change a bigger crisis than Covid-19 pandemic, says SA expert

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Sep 9, 2021

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CAPE TOWN: The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that governments around the world are able to deal with a global crisis, but there needs to be a sharper focus on the climate change, which is likely to have a greater impact.

This according to director of the development and rule of law programme at Stellenbosch University, Professor Oliver Ruppel, who says that while the pandemic has been destructive, green recovery can be extremely constructive and beneficial.

“Climate change is also a crisis, it’s a catastrophe. It's something that is most likely going to be bigger than Covid-19 will ever be because it threatens our survival and threatens human nature and the future of our children,” he said.

Ahead of COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference which is set to be held in Glasgow in November, Ruppel said the conference could hold accountable the countries that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emission.

“COP26 this year is going to, hopefully, be a special one in order for us to reach this 1.5 centigrade gap for us to stay alive.”

Ruppel served as a coordinating leader on the the Fifth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

“Recently, the sixth assessment report came and the findings were clearer than ever. It indicates that climate change is already taking its toll. We knew that, but it's becoming clearer and clearer in terms of the scientific data that we have. The effects of climate change are becoming irreversible,” he said.

COP26 is set to put countries under obligation to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by means of their signature and ratification of the Paris agreement, which is an international treaty on climate change, adopted in 2015.

Ruppel said that while important issues like climate change and environmental protection are handled at a global level, local efforts play an integral role as well.

“At the local level is actually where the music plays, and that means citizens need to be educated and informed about the value of nature; about the need to protect it; about the opportunities that come with it when it flourishes and about the detrimental impacts if it doesn't.”

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African News Agency (ANA)

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