City looks at cli­mate change ef­fects

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Dave Sa­vides

THE lo­cal ef­fects of global cli­mate change have led to the City of uMh­lathuze set­ting up a ‘Green Team’ to im­ple­ment an ac­tion plan.

The mat­ter was in­cluded in Wed­nes­day’s Exco agenda, where the stark re­al­ity of the global phe­nom­e­non was un­packed in terms of cur­rent and pro­jected fu­ture weather change im­pacts.

Among oth­ers, the is­sue has a direct bear­ing on the city’s growth and de­vel­op­ment, in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices, job cre­ation, health, dis­as­ter man­age­ment and hu­man set­tle­ment plan­ning.

Mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures would re­quire a strong re­liance on strate­gic part­ner­ships and sig­nif­i­cant grant fund­ing.

The city’s cli­mate change pro­file over the last decade has high­lighted a num­ber of im­pacts, in­clud­ing:

• Pro­longed drought from 20132017 which led to Level 4 water re­stric­tions and risk to in­dus­try, com­mu­ni­ties, live­stock and agri­cul­ture;

• In­tense sea swell and in­creased coastal storm events have se­verely eroded beaches, par­tic­u­larly north of Richards Bay, plac­ing coastal de­vel­op­ment as well as tourism un­der risk;

• An in­crease in lo­cal flood events, which test storm water sys­tems in ur­ban ar­eas and place lives and prop­erty at risk in un­planned set­tle­ments and vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties in flood prone ar­eas. Also a threat to trans­port routes, as well as cre­at­ing con­di­tions for the spread of water-borne dis­eases;

• Soar­ing rise in sum­mer tem­per­a­tures, which will lead to • lower pro­duc­tiv­ity as well as a higher de­pen­dency on cool­ing and air con­di­tion­ing, thus in­creas­ing en­ergy costs; In­creased wind ac­tiv­ity which will im­pact air qual­ity given the amount of ma­te­rial stock­piled at in­dus­tries.

Tak­ing ac­tion

The Cli­mate Change Ac­tion Plan, linked to in­ter­na­tional, na­tional and pro­vin­cial strate­gies, pri­ori­tis­ing se­lec­tive in­ter­ven­tions in the fol­low­ing sec­tors:

• Coastal man­age­ment

• Water re­sources man­age­ment

• Stormwa­ter man­age­ment

• Open space and bio­di­ver­sity man­age­ment

• Waste man­age­ment

• En­ergy man­age­ment

• In­te­grated trans­port plan­ning

• Spa­tial plan­ning, land use and de­sign­ing for sus­tain­abil­ity

• Hu­man set­tle­ment plan­ning

• Dis­as­ter man­age­ment re­sponses

• Air qual­ity man­age­ment.

Is­sues such as pro­tec­tion against coastal ero­sion and the ef­fects of green­house gas emis­sions are part of the city’s cli­mate change stud­ies Dave Sa­vides

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