South Africa Climate Protection

South Africa Climate Protection

Challenges in climate protection

Challenges in climate protection

According to insidewatch, South Africa is the country with the highest CO2 emissions in Africa. The Ministry of the Environment has presented a long-term strategy for climate protection and a national strategy for adaptation to climate change, with the aim of the country to embark on a climate-friendly development path. GIZ advises the Ministry of the Environment on the implementation of climate policy and supports the German-South African energy partnership, which among other things focuses on a sustainable energy infrastructure and thus contributes to climate protection.

In the run-up to the UN climate conference, which took place in Paris at the beginning of December 2015, the South African government published its position in a discussion draft. An overview of the South African government policy on climate change and climate protection, and compliance with international commitments to protect the climate allow AfricanClimate Voices. A national commission on climate change was set up in December 2020. Her area of ​​responsibility as an advisory body includes the reduction of CO2 emissions and the conversion to a climate-resilient and inclusive economy and society.

The white paper on renewable energies should also be mentioned as a political basis. The Ministry of the Environment offers a variety of clear information on renewable energy, including maps, and other ecological topics. Numerous laws can also be viewed as documents. At the beginning of October 2015, South Africa hosted an international conference on renewable energies. The South African Institute of International Affairs, among others, deals with the complicated economic, climate, environmental and government policy backgrounds in the discussion about the importance of the green economy. This institute also examined the importance of energy policy and different sources of energy in foreign relations between South Africa and the EU.

The current integrated resource plan provides for an energy mix by 2030.

Power lines and air pollution

Power lines and air pollution

South Africa’s energy company ESKOM has the largest coal emissions in Africa and is responsible for 40 percent of South Africa’s total emissions. More new coal-fired power plants are currently being built, for example in Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga. However, their completion is delayed. The introduction of hydraulic fracturing for underground shale gas extraction, especially in the Karoo, is questionable in terms of energy and environmental policy. A central question for years has been: coal or climate protection ? Environmentalists protest against controversial new coal-fired power plants. Climate protection is therefore impaired, according to the opinion of critical environmental organizations and experts. The introduction of a CO2 tax is controversially discussed and discussed. According to a KAS study on energy policy post Fukushima, the country has all the prerequisites to play a leading role in the restructuring of renewable energies in Africa. The power outages or power cuts by ESKOM in December 2019 caused controversy in business, politics and society.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW) support South Africa in projects, for example on renewable energy. The technology lessons on renewable energies at vocational schools are also being innovatively tested and improved in cooperation with South African partners. Further goals are the creation of jobs in these areas, advanced training for specialist teachers and energy saving.

Topography

Vegetation in South Africa

Vegetation in South Africa

The topography of South Africa is characterized by contrasts: the long coastal strip is followed by a steep rise in the inner highlands, which then gently drop into the Kalahari and Limpopo basins. The Randschwellengebirge, consisting of individual mountain chains, which surrounds South Africa in the west, south and east, is called the Great Escarpment. The Drakensberg runs through the country from the northeast to the enclave of Lesotho in the southeast, where they reach their highest point (3,482 m above sea level) with the Thabana Ntlenyana. The highest mountain in South Africa is the Njesuthi with 3,446 m.

The climate is determined by geography and is generally temperate; subtropical in the north and Mediterranean on the coast. Climate diagrams for individual cities illustrate the different climatic conditions in the country. In large parts of the country, low rainfall does not allow agriculture. The fertile and rainy areas were reserved for the whites during the decades of apartheid (1948-1994). South Africa is already affected by climate change.

Even if the original vegetation has been largely changed by human intervention, due to the climatic conditions there are still several distinct vegetation zones, from mountain forests in the east to grasslands, savannas and semi-desert areas in the central highlands to the thorn bush savannas in the west.

South Africa is a country rich in natural resources; Above all, the large deposits of gold, diamonds, coal, platinum, chromium and iron ore have given South Africa a strong economic position on the continent and internationally. They are economically important, even though their mining – for example in gold mines – is in some cases declining year-on-year. The deposits of the most important minerals are located in the northeast of the country, in the so-called ” Greenstone Belts “.

South Africa's topography