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CSIR launches 2nd edition Climate Risk and Vulnerability handbook for Southern Africa

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The 2nd edition of the Climate Risk and Vulnerability handbook was launched on 5 October at the CSIR 6th Biennial Conference in Pretoria. Highlighting the costs of weather-related disasters between 1980 and 2015 in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), this latest rendition of the critically acclaimed handbook points out that the costs of damages amounted to 10 billion USD, affecting millions of people.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+27 12 841 3741

mtsedu@csir.co.za

The 2nd edition of the Climate Risk and Vulnerability handbook was launched on 5 October at the CSIR 6th Biennial Conference in Pretoria. Highlighting the costs of weather-related disasters between 1980 and 2015 in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), this latest rendition of the critically acclaimed handbook points out that the costs of damages amounted to 10 billion USD, affecting millions of people.

“There is evidence suggesting that it would be far cheaper to invest in disaster prevention and climate change adaptation, than spending on relief,” explains CSIR researcher Claire Davis-Reddy. This 2nd edition presents the latest available scientific knowledge on the nature of climate change and its implications for the region.

The impacts of climate change will differ from sector to sector. Potential impacts include increasing energy demand, a reduced maize crop yield,  and water insecurity. Hence, reducing that vulnerability reduces the likelihood of negative impacts from climate change.

Observational records indicate a consistent increase in temperatures across the region over the last century, with an increase in the rate of warming in the last two decades. Davis-Reddy notes that this increase in temperature has occurred along with an increase in evapotranspiration across the region, thereby necessitating immediate action against climate change. “South Africa is a semi-arid country and conserving water should be primary for South Africans,” she says adding that already government and industry have approached the CSIR to look at ways in which they can adapt to the changing climate.

These changing conditions are especially relevant to industries whose processes of production are dependent on a certain outside temperature, explains Davis-Reddy, also one of the lead authors of the handbook. “Many food processing practices depend on specific temperature conditions as well, which often affects the lifespan of the foods,” she says, “and projected warmer conditions over most of the interior of southern Africa will mean new technologies and processes would be required by these industries.”

The CSIR is also developing the first African-based Earth System Model that will project long term future climate change to ensure Southern Africa is prepared to adequately respond to the impacts.

Climate change information is always improving and this edition provides an update on the projections and scenarios. “Knowing what to expect enables us to make adaptive decisions to reduce potential negative impacts and capitalise on opportunities”, said Katharine Vincent from Kulima Integrated Development Solutions, co-author of the handbook.  

This handbook is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Science and Technology, The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (SASSCAL), and the United Kingdom Department for International Development and Natural Environment Research Council through the Future Climate for Africa programme. The 1st edition handbook has been used extensively for training in the SADC region.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Claire Davis-Reddy on 021 888 2507 or email cdavis@csir.co.za

About the CSIR:

The CSIR is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research, technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. For more information, please visit www.csir.co.za.

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