South Africa is the most developed country in Africa and manufacturing accounts for most of the country’s wealth. The main industries in South African are Agriprocessing, Automotive, Chemicals, ICT and electronic, Metals, and Textiles, clothing and footwear. Agriprocessing handles distribution of the agriculture in South African, which contributes to about 4% of South Africa’s GDP. Next, Automotive is the one of the fastest growing and most important sectors in South Africa’s manufacturing. South Africa is building a lot of parts for local and international trade since more and more cars are being seen on South American streets. Chemicals, ICT and electronic and the Textile industries are also very important and contribute to South Africa’s GDP, but none of the other industries compare to South Africa’s metal industry. The metal industry in South Africa makes up about 33-40% of all of South Africa’s manufacturing and it ranks 10th in the world for metal export (1). South Africa’s many well developed manufacturing industries results in a large amount of green house gasses, Carbon Dioxide especially, which is the leading cause for global warming and climate change.
These greenhouse gasses cause the affects of climate change to be felt in South Africa more severely. Climate change causes rising sea levels,increased temperatures, great severity of natural disasters but this climate change is having a more severe impact on South Africa. This affect is seen in the agriculture of South Africa and is felt by the less privileged people living in impoverished communities.
South African’s agriculture industry contributes about 4% to South Africa’s GDP, but 13% of South Africa’s land is used for agriculture. With the increase of greenhouse gasses, the temperature is sure to increase which will see that percentage of the land used for agriculture to diminish. This is because most of South Africa’s land is arid desert, so water must be brought in by irrigation. Also, this climate change will cause weather to become more unpredictable which will lead to irregular water fall. More on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in South Africa can be found in our section.
Secondly, the impoverished communities are also hit very hard by climate change. Most people think about climate change and think only about how things like warmer temperatures and rising sea levels affect the land, but these warmer temperatures have a large affect on the people of South Africa. It is a fact that warmer weather causes people to be more irritable and easier to become angry and many studies are now saying that this causes more crimes(2). The crimes vary too, from simple petty theft to crimes as severe as murder and spousal abuse. This increase of crime due to warmer weather is seen to have an even more profound affect on impoverished areas. More can be read about how climate change is affecting impoverished areas in our impoverished communities section.
South Africa is not innocent by all means in contributing towards climate change, but it is trying to fight the problems it sees in its own country. South Africa, unlike the United States, is part of the Kyoto Protocol which is a treaty putting a cap on emissions (3). Emissions can be bought by other countries and there is a emission market place. South Africa is taking the first step towards fighting climate change.
(image 1): Common Stone Crusher
(image 2): Violent protests in South Africa
(image 3): South Africa and the Kyoto Protocol