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Governments and business must speak “in one voice” to curb climate impacts

LONDON: Sustainable development needs integrated planning across governments, the private sector and research and development “to find innovative solutions” for climate adaptation, said Nomvula Mokonyane,Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation, South Africa in an interview with The Climate Group for Climate TV.

Speaking during COP21 in Paris, the Minister underlines the crucial role the private sector can play in tackling climate change – in both preventing the worst effects of climate disruption by reducing emissions and helping the global population adapt to impacts.

In fact, COP21 was “about calling for the world to adapt in view of the realities of climate change,” the Minister said, “and ensuring that there is an implementable program by nations, by different sectors, so that we invest more in partnerships to find sustainable solutions.”

COMPANIES, COMMUNITIES AND POLICYMAKERS

To further spur this climate action potential from the business community and enhance the value of peer collaboration, The Climate Group’s global initiative in partnership with CDP, RE100, is supporting major companies committing to 100% renewable power.

But companies can’t solve the complex issue alone, Nomvula Mokonyane underlines in the interview. Policymakers must take both businesses and citizens into account when paving the way to a low carbon economy. “We have to take our communities along,” she said, “so that they are able to contribute to their own local business solutions as well as appreciating that the world does require everybody to contribute.”

WATER RESERVES

Such contribution is even more urgent because depleting sources of fresh water – the fundamental element for life – is directly linked to climate disruption, the Minister warns.

More rainfall temporarily increases water resources, but heavier rainfall diminishes our ability to store water before it ends up in the ocean. And while higher temperatures mean more water in the short term from melting inland glaciers, this flow stops once ice is melted – and glaciers take much longer to rebuild.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that today only 0.7% of total water worldwide is available for consumption, of which 87% is allocated to agricultural purposes.

“The effects of climate change to water contributes to non-availability of energy as well as food security,” concludes Nomvula Mokonyane. “The immediate thing that we will have to do is to make sure that we all speak in one voice, realize that climate changes is here to stay and the effect of it will impact on sustainable development.”