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23 November 2011

COP 17: threat to Africa tops SA's agenda

The threat that climate change poses to development on our continent is going to be foremost during South Africa's negotiations at the upcoming United Nations talks in Durban.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has been speaking at a pre-COP 17 summit in the city. Molewa says sustainable development on the continent is at risk if climate change isn't adequately addressed.

Molewa says Africa's poor are most affected by climate change, as they rely heavily on the natural environment for agriculture.

She says the success of COP 17 is crucial, as by 2080, 30 percent of Africa's coastal infrastructure could face the risk of flooding as a result of rising sea levels.

Molewa says local scientists have already indicated that South Africa will become drier in the west and wetter in the east, with natural disaster like floods on the increase.

She says if a binding agreement isn't reached in Durban, talks should at the very least set a concrete foundation for COP 18 and 19.

Molewa says Durban must be the starting point to ensure environmental action against climate change begins now.

- East Coast Radio