Wednesday, July 23, 2008

South Africa's Van Schalkwyk paints grim picture of climate change, via Business Day (South Africa): The longer the delay in taking action on climate change, the greater the costs would be for everyone to minimise its effects and adapt to them, Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said last night. Speaking at a conference on climate change and global warming hosted by the Fynbos Foundation, in association with the Nieman Foundation, he said the costs were not only to be gauged in gross domestic product percentages, or loss of habitat or species, but "more importantly" in the millions of human lives at risk due to water shortage and food insecurity related directly to climate change

Van Schalkwyk said such a situation could create a new phenomenon of "environmental refugees" on the continent. He said it was now time for action and that climate change presented a "make or break" challenge to world leaders. Van Schalkwyk said to avoid the worst effects of climate change, all countries needed to carry their fair share of responsibility to restrict global temperature increases to below 2ยบ C. "It will be a failure of this generation of leaders if any developed country shirks its responsibility for the problem. The next 18 months will show whether world leaders, and in particular the largest historical polluter, the US , are ready to rise to this challenge," he said….

Flag of South Africa, Wikimedia Commons

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