The purpose of this document is to investigate the impact of climate change on the Information Technology (IT) industry in South Africa. Initial investigation will be into what is happening to the global and South African climate based on recent studies and academic papers. By then examining the impact of climate change on each sector, and by examining the percentage of IT spend per sector, the impact on IT during our lifetimes can be extrapolated.
2. Global Climate Change; South African Impact
2.1. The average global temperature has historically varied significantly creating periods of cooling (¡¥ice-ages¡¦) and warming. Evidence shows that the world¡¦s climate is warming. Africa¡¦s climate has warmed by about 0.5aC during the 20th century (Nkomo, Nyong & Lulindwa, 2006). The debate over if climate change is caused by humans or not is beyond the scope of this document, however it has been shown historically that there is a direct correlation between CO2 levels and global temperature (see Appendix 1). The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (2006) argues that urgent action needs to be taken to stabilise the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. At current CO2 output, this could result in a 2aC increase in average global temperature by 2050.
2.2. Global warming is expected to have a generally warming and drying effect on most of Southern Africa (Fairbanks & Scholes, 1999), with a decrease in precipitation of 5 to 10% (IPCC HadCM2 General Circulation Model).
2.3. Logically agriculture, forestry and related industries such as alcoholic beverages, foodstuff exports and pulp and paper will be most affected. Even taking into account the expected fertilisation effect of increased CO2 levels, it is expected that forestry output will decline by 48% (Fairbanks and Scholes, 1999). Maize production, a Southern African staple, is predicted to be reduced by between 10 and 20% depending on geographic location (Kiker, 2000). As warming will allow... [continues]
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