Responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent comments at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, Greenpeace Africa’s Climate and Energy Campaign Manager Happy Khambule has said:
“The President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union is peddling 20th century solutions to 21st century problems. The President missed an opportunity to rise to the challenges of COVID-19 and the climate crisis, as tens of thousands die as a result of the global health pandemic and over 7 000 people have lost their homes in Southern Africa, following tropical cyclone Eloise.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we need to protect the planet so that it will protect us. The President and other world leaders need to show that they have the courage to change a system that is actively working against the planet, and against our own future. A diverse energy mix is not a move away from fossil fuels, on which South Africa is still dependent. The President’s address should have given clear commitment to achieve a rapid Just Transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.
“If there is to be anything vaguely redeemable about the Great Reset, our leaders must declare a Climate Emergency and establish a decent Universal Basic Income. A better world will never materialise if our leaders are not willing to do more than sell false solutions to the richest billionaires in the room.”
This despite the extensive report called Weathering the Storm – Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change in Africa – published by Greenpeace Research Laboratories and Greenpeace Africa.
Here are some highlights from there:
- The mean annual temperature increase for much of the continent of Africa is projected to exceed 2 °C or to fall within the range of 3 °C to 6 °C by the end of the twenty-first century if high emissions continue.
- Studies using numerical climate models at regional and global scales project that during the twenty-first century, heatwaves will occur more often, at higher intensities, and last for longer as greenhouse gas concentrations increase.
- South Africa is projected to become drier in the west and southwest, and wetter in the east. Observed temperatures indicate that much of Africa experienced an increasing trend in ‘cumulative heat’ by 50% per decade between 1950 and 2017.
- Climate scientists have found that anthropogenic climate change contributed substantially to the 2015–2016 extreme drought over East and Southern Africa by accentuating the natural El Niño impacts
- If high greenhouse gas emissions continue, the expectation is for decreased mean annual rainfall in Southern and Northern African regions by the mid- to late twenty-first century and an increase in mean annual rainfall in Central and East African regions. Future rainfall patterns for West Africa are uncertain.
- Whether or not tropical storms and cyclones will increase or decrease in frequency during the twenty-first century is not certain. Expectations are broadly for a small increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones that make landfall and impact East Africa from the Arabian sea, and fewer but more intense tropical cyclones in the Southern African region.
- Attributing extreme weather events to one specific cause is not straightforward. It is important to note that extreme weather events can be caused by natural variability within the climate system, human activity or a complex interplay between the two.
- Extinction of many endemic African species is possible even at the lower end of the range of possible projected temperature changes above pre-industrial levels due to climate change.
There is every indication that our president needs to address climate change as a matter of top priority.