South Africa is no less affected by climate change and associated phenomena than any other country. Indeed, South Africa has one of the world’s highest per capita rates of greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to our reliance on low-grade coal for electricity generation. The country is also under serious threat from changes in rainfall patterns; experts predict that the dry parts of the country, where much of the major agricultural production takes place, will become drier, while the eastern half of the country will become prone to flooding. It is also expected that, as the negative effects of climate change begin to be felt in the rest of Africa, increased numbers of economic refugees will make their way here. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that sustained economic growth is required to lift people out of poverty; and by the fact that as the middle-class grows, so does its consumption of electricity, water, energy and resources.
At the same time, resources such as oil are becoming scarcer and more expensive. In response, there is a shift to biofuels which, in turn, places upward pressure on food prices to the acute disadvantage of the poor. To say, therefore, that the theme of environment and climate change will be a dominant one for decades to come is to state the obvious; and the Church, with its understanding of the integrity of creation and responsible stewardship, has a central role to play in shaping legislation and policy on this issue.
The Sub-themes for this project are:
- Climate Change