South Africa is committed to addressing climate change based on science and equity. Climate change is already a measurable reality, and is primarily as a result of the rising concentration due to human induced cumulative emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution in the mid 1800’s. South Africa has observed and is projecting further trends of marked temperature increases, rainfall variation and rising sea levels as well as an increased frequency of severe weather events.
South Africa’s response is informed by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and the understanding that further mitigation efforts by all are needed to avoid high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally. However, irrespective of any adequate mitigation efforts, the IPCC also concludes that, due to the inertia and long response time lags in the global climate system, adverse impacts of climate change are inevitable. Given that poor countries and communities have the least responsibility for the challenge of global climate change but are the most vulnerable to its impacts, adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is also a global responsibility and concern.