Despite an ever-growing amount of evidence, there still seems to be doubt in the world about the reality of climate change. South Africa's Cape Floral Region, the smallest of six recognised floral kingdoms of the world and one of the reasons SA is considered one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, is under threat.
The report, entitled ‘World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate’, listed 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries that are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, intensifying weather events, worsening droughts and longer wildfire seasons. This report was released by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
"Climate change has already been recorded in the Western Cape region," the report states, "with studies suggesting an average warming of 0.1–0.2ºC per decade from 1901 to 2006 in the Greater Cape Floristic Region."
This regional warming trend is expected to continue, along with decreased winter rainfall and larger wildfires. However, South Africa isn’t the only destination with threatened by the changing climate. Other iconic sites include Venice, Stonehenge, the Galápagos Islands. Some Easter Island statues are at risk of being lost to the sea due to coastal erosion and many of the world’s most important coral reefs, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, have suffered unprecedented coral bleaching linked to climate change.
South Africa recently signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement, agreeing to adhere to international efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to meet all the associated challenges posed by climate change. Let’s hope that we can implement the necessary measure to save our beloved Fynbos!