Management for Climate Change

Management for Climate Change

Management for Climate Change

Management for Climate Change

Management for Climate Change

Climate change risk management approaches generally fall into four broad categories: 1) mitigation—efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; 2) adaptation—increasing society’s capacity to cope with changes in climate; 3) geoengineering or climate engineering—additional, deliberate manipulation of the earth system that is intended to counteract at least some of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions; and 4) knowledge-base expansion—efforts to learn and understand more about the climate system, which can help support proactive risk management.

Climate is changing - as it has since the beginning of the earth, and so it must to remain dynamic and diverse.

This change may be slow and unnoticeable, or it may be initiated over a few years, such as the Little Ice Age (1280-1850), the Medieval Warming (900-1300) the Dryas Periods (Younger 12,800 - 11,500, and Older ± 15000 - 18,000 years ago) and the Dalton Minimum (1795 - 1825) when the sun had less sunspots and the lack of solar activity caused cloudiness and extreme cold and famine.

The modern history of the earth has many such examples of dryer, hotter periods and colder, wetter periods. These affected the vegetation, with tree lines moving further down slopes during warmer periods and species replacement during colder periods. Cultures were lost during dryer, famine periods, such as the decline of the Mapungubwe culture in the 1300s and the subsequent rise of the Great Zimbabwe Gokomere, or perhaps the Lembe, and their decline in the 1500s (Fleminger, David (2008). Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape).

Another example could include the Anasazi Indians during the late 13th century (Plimer; I. 2009).People migrated as they became stressed by famine and these periods brought political unrest as people were forced to move out of their traditional areas to forage for food, coming into conflict with other cultures and people. This led to a mixing of the gene pool, and therefore resilience and the survival of Homo Sapiens.

A major climate change incident initiated The Dark Ages - an event that changed the climate radically and quickly. The Dark Ages were not only 'dark' because of the lack of knowledge following the collapse of the Roman Empire, but climate change forced people into recluses to survive. Keys (Catastrophe An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World, 1999) contends that a natural phenomenon, namely a volcanic eruption, in all likelihood Krakatau in 535 AD, caused world-wide climatic destabilisation that started the complex chain of events bringing about The Dark Ages.

During the 6th and 7th centuries, agricultural failures and the emergence of the plague contributed to:

"(1) the demise of ancient super cities, old Persia, Indonesian civilizations, the Nasca culture of South America, and southern Arabian civilizations;

(2) the schism of the Roman Empire with the conception of many nation states and the re-birth of a united China; and

(3) the origin and spread of Islam while Arian Christianity disappeared" (Ken Wohletz: Were the Dark Ages Triggered by Volcano-Related Climate Change?).

The Dark Ages and its exceptionally cold climate continued through to the start of the Medieval Warming in 900 AD.Climate change is on everyone's lips with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning against climate change events that demand short-term disaster management and long-term environmental management to avoid the effects of these events.

The bank of IPCC scientist have declared that the world is in the grips of anthropogenically-caused climate change mainly as a result of man burning more fossil fuels and producing greenhouse gasses as never before. They say that these greenhouse gasses, mainly CO2, are raising the average atmospheric temperatures, which in turn are increasing sea temperatures and contributing to the melting of the land-based glaciers.

This has the effect of changing weather patterns, a change in the rainfall, higher temperatures affecting fire behaviour, increased sea levels, and a host of other sensational and fearful results. A number of documents have emanated from the ICPP's Climate Change Synthesis Report (2007) including Understanding Vulnerability to Climate Change (CARE; 2011), Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (2005); and Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (2012).

South Africa has also devised various strategies to address climate change, such as the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan for the Western Cape (March 2008); National Climate Change Response; Green Paper (2011); A National Climate Change Response Strategy for South Africa (2004) as well as local documents and strategies such as Impact of Climate Change on Municipal Water - Bredasdorp (May 2007).

The fact of the matter is that we can build resilient survival strategies using modern techniques and technology into the environment, our social wellbeing and our economy as the climate changes along predictable pathways.

What we do at Rory Allardice Environmental:

1. Manage risk and reduce vulnerability by:

a. Building climate change adaptation teams

b. Manage adaptation strategies against higher temperatures

c. Manage water as an adaptation strategy against drought and flood events.

d. Limit evaporation from soil, dams and other water sources (peat management)

e. Manage catchment to limit water loss.

f. Ensure monitoring methods are standard, consistent and repeatable.

g. Optimise the re-use of waste water and treat waste water for release back into the environment.

h. Rain water harvesting systems.

i. Implement integrated water resource management

j. Identify pollutants and draw up pollutant management plans

k. Devise maintenance plans for water infrastructure

l. Identify erosion sites and draw up management plans to deal with the erosion

m. Identify threats to natural rangelands, including erosion, bush encroachment, pest increases and effects of species shifts in the ecosystem, and devise management plans to address them

n. Reduce the effects of carbon expensive products on the long-term economy of the producer by suggesting alternative biodiversity-based businesses to run in parallel with the existing economic activities.

2. A people-centred approach - the prioritisation of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions in the management planning and application process that ensures human dignity and the vulnerability of the poor, in particular of woman, youth and the aged. In this regard, the requirement of social equity and economic sustainability while enhanced environmental stewardship are recognised.

a. Design awareness training on health risks as a result of higher temperature and restricting water availability

b. Strengthen knowledge of disease-climate linkage

3. Mitigation - energy:

a. Reduction of fuel use

b. Biofuel production

c. Source appropriate alternative energy technology.

4. Tourism:

a. Plan green tourism infrastructure

b. Advise on how tourists can participate in conservation and protection of the environment

c. Plan energy-efficient systems in the tourism sector.A number of these interventions also coincide with a transition to a low carbon economy.

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