The greatest environmental challenge facing the World in this century is global climate change. Referred to as Global warming, it encompasses disruptions of the World’s weather and climate patterns and impacts on rainfall, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions. The greatest challenges are faced by the developing world as they are sometimes less equipped to respond to it.

South Africa signs up

South Africa is signatory to most international treaties and protocols on Climate Change. These include the ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),’ which came into being at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. Its primary objective was to stabilise the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level where interference with the climate system could be prevented. The South African Government ratified the UNFCCC in August 1997. The Kyoto protocol, which succeeded the UNFCCC in 1997, was acceded to by the South African government in 2002.

The South African climate change response strategy

In 2004 the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism developed a national climate change response strategy. This supported the policies of a Government white paper on integrated pollution and waste management, as well as energy, agriculture and water. At the same time as meeting its international obligations as set out by the UNFCCC requirements, South Africa has to achieve national and sustainable development objectives, whilst simultaneously responding to climate change.

How do you respond?

Apart from the day to day awareness that needs to be maintained by all citizens, of small ways that we can make a difference to enhancing our environment, business owners and in particular those with factories need to be aware of the negative impact that can be experienced, if they are not ‘seen to be green!’ High carbon emissions not only affect the immediate environment surrounding your premises but are part of a wider problem that affects the market place, the economy and the comfort of people in general. The bottom line is that a business can be badly affected by the negative publicity generated by ignoring its environmental impact.

The pollution solution

There is obviously no simple or ‘cut and dried’ solution for diminishing the extreme climate change that can in many ways affect your business. Your company may need to upgrade its pollution control facilities and emission monitoring systems to comply with constantly changing regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Fortunately Professional Climate Change Assessments and Strategies are available for private enterprise and the South African Government by Gondwana Environmental Solutions. We are a private enterprise that provide many services including assessing and monitoring Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, Emission Inventories and adaptation planning and mitigation strategies. Contact us for more information about our environmental and climate change services.

Every South African needs to be part of the national response to climate change. Are you playing your part?