Forestry, Fisheries and Environment welcomes 6th IPCC assessment on Climate Change on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

“South Africa welcomes the sixth assessment by Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is an important contribution to enhancing scientific understanding on climate change on the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, that must inform international policy in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s COP27 in Egypt, in November 2022.” says the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

The assessment report, which was released on Monday the 28th February 2022 is the second in a series of reports to be adopted under the IPCC 6th assessment cycle. In March, the IPCC will release the next reports on dealing with mitigation of climate change, and finally, a synthesis report of the key findings of all three reports will be released later in the year.

One of the Working Group II co-chairs is the South African scientist and local government practitioner, Dr Debra Roberts. She summarised the key message of this large report during the press conference The message from the working group II report is clear “The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss the brief, rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future. This report offers solutions to the world” says Minister Creecy.

The report highlights and analyses information available, including a chapter on the African continent, further emphasizing the vulnerability of all countries on the continent, and the urgency of developing and implementing adaptation measures across the continent and in multiple sectors. African countries have already experienced widespread loss and damage as a result of human-induced climate change. Southern Africa is no different and is already facing loss of lives and impacts on human health, reduced economic growth, water shortages, reduced food production, biodiversity loss and adverse impacts on human settlements and infrastructure. The report makes clear that our development pathways must become more climate resilient – and that choices we make as a society now are critical.  With increasing global warming, losses and damages will increase and additional human and natural systems will reach adaptation limits.

The report emphasises that those most impacted by climate change are poorer communities. This means that equitable access to sustainable development  is essential in our response to climate change. The IPCC report finds that climate change will increasingly undermine food security. At 2 °C warming by 2050, people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Central and South America and on small islands are likely to experience food shortages, leading to malnutrition. This means that the ability to adapt and  develop in a climate resilient manner is critical – for example through adopting stress-tolerant crops and livestock, diversification on farms. Minister Creecy said “Our response to climate change will be one of inclusive, equitable, climate compatible development as espoused in the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

“In this regard we will continue to work together with the Climate Commission to identify pathways for a Just Transition to a low carbon economy and climate resilient society by mid-century has never been more important”, says Minister Creecy

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