By Meshack Mbangula
Apart from natural cycles, human activities are causing an intensification of climate change as never before. It began with the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, when humans started to burn coal on a large scales as a means of generating power for industry. This releases carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere, and when concentration are to high, it prevents the rays of the sun bouncing back into the space. Instead, these rays bounce back to the to earth and warm the planet. The carbon in the atmosphere acts like a greenhouse to trap the heat near the the earth`s surface. A number of gases perform of other gases perform the same function.These include methane(from the cattle waste, rice paddies, coal mines and landfills) and the nitrous oxide from car exhaust . Together they known as green house gases.
In some areas the planet will heat up and in other areas will cool down. The changed temperatures will lead to extinction of many fragile species of plants and animals, some which are useful to human survival. the higher temperatures will also lead greater food insecurity as certain agricultural activities will be curbed by the changes in climate. Already farmers in Western Cape are having difficulties growing wheat for staple bread consumption. Deserts will spread widely. Ice caps will melt, leading to higher sea levels. Since around 80% of our major settlements are on the coast, there will be increased risk of flooding.
Climate change knows no boundaries, and therefore the world has to deal with the problem globally as well as locally. What is disturbing is that South Africa remains without a strategic plan for dealing with climate change. This despite many consultative meetings. what can be done the Government must develop a knowledge base that can serve to educate more people. Government must forcing the introduction of renewable energies like Solar and wind turbines and avoid using coal.