Limpopo is South Africa’s 5th largest province with a total land area of 125,755 square kilometres, and has a population of 5.4-million people. The capital of the province is Polokwane, which is located in the centre of the province. Other important urban centres include Modimolle, Makhado and Musina, and the mining centres of Phalaborwa and Thabazimbi. The province is composed of five district municipalities as shown in the figure below (Department of Environmental Affairs, 2015).
Described as the “breadbasket” and “agricultural engine” of South Africa, the province accounts for almost 60% of all fruit, vegetables, maize, wheat, and cotton produced in the country. In addition to commercial farming, a large section of the rural population is dependent on agriculture for subsistence. Mining is the major economic driver in the province and contributes to more than a fifth of the province’s economic growth. Platinum, diamonds, coal, copper and phosphates are mined in the area. The growth of the mining sector has however declined in the last few years due to the global economic crisis. The province also has a thriving tourism sector which includes the Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, 54 provincial reserves and several luxury private game reserves.
The province can be divided into three climatic regions: the Lowveld region: a semi-arid climate, the Middle- and Highveld: semi-arid, and Escarpment: a sub-humid climate. The province experiences summer rainfall, with the northern and eastern areas experiencing hot and humid summers and the mountain areas experiencing misty conditions. Winters are mild and generally frost free. The province depends on surface water resources and is a water stressed province with almost all of its water resources being fully developed and allocated, with a high percentage of the population not having access to safe water (Department of Environmental Affairs, 2015, Department of Environmental Affairs, 2015).
Greenhouse Gas Data
There are a range of sources of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions at the provincial and district level. One of the main sources of GHGs is from electricity. Although the GHGs associated with the generation of electricity is recorded at a national level, provinces and municipalities typically record the GHGs associated with the sale of electricity. The map below is a summary of the GHGs from the sale of electricity in the province. This data is sourced from Stats SA for the provinces and divided into district data by the proportion of houshold numbers in the district.
Liquid Fuel Sales
A second major source of GHGs is from the sale of liquid fuels. This includes jet fuel, aviation gasoline, diesel, furnace oil, LPG, paraffin and petrol. The map below is a summary of the GHGs from the sale of liquid fuels in the province. Each fuel is converted to Gigagram Carbon Dioxide equivalent (GgCO2e) using specific emission factors from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Emission Factor Database.
Key Climate Hazards
The figure below shows projected changes in annual average temperatures, highlighting increasing temperatures throughout the province for the period 2021-2050 under the RCP 8.5 scenario. By 2050, the province is projected to be affected by higher annual average temperatures, which will adversely affect water and food security. Evaporation rates will also likely increase and agricultural outputs may reduce.
Increasing rainfall variability
The figure below shows projected shifts in annual average rainfall throughout the province between 2021-2050 under the RCP 8.5 scenario. Annual average rainfall amounts vary across the province. There is uncertainty regarding projected future rainfall.
Increasing storms and flooding events
The figure below shows projected changes in the annual average number of extreme rainfall days throughout the province over the period 2021-2050 under the RCP 8.5 scenario. Increases in the number of rainfall days are likely to result in an increase in intense storms, and flooding events across the province.
The current delineation of biomes is depicted in the figure below, with the predicted shift in biomes shown in the following figure based on a high-risk scenario. The biomes have varying sensitivities to the projected impacts of climate change which are further exacerbated by issues such as the fragmentation of natural areas and unsustainable water usage rates.
Climate Change Vulnerability
The CSIR Greenbook has developed and refined a vulnerability assessment framework by collating relevant data into composite vulnerability indicators. Four local municipality level vulnerability indices were computed and are shown spatially below.
Social inequalities are the factors that affect the susceptibility and coping mechanisms of communities and households. Indicators for social vulnerability attempt to consider the sensitivity, response and recovery from the impacts of natural hazards. The CSIR Green Book has developed a socio-economic vulnerability index that is measured on a scale from 1 (low vulnerability) to 10 (high vulnerability). The map below shows the Socio-Economic vulnerability score of each municipality in the province visually.
Environmental vulnerability describes the vulnerability and risk to the natural environment and the impacts on the ecological infrastructure of which surrounding settlements are dependent. The environmental risk of an area includes ecosystems, habitats, physical and biological processes (reproduction, diversity, energy ﬂows, etc). The CSIR Green Book has developed an Environmental Vulnerability Index that is measured on a scale from 1 (low vulnerability) to 10 (high vulnerability). The map below shows the environmental vulnerability score of each municipality in the province visually.
Physical vulnerability describes the physical fabric and connectedness of settlements (buildings and infrastructure) and focuses mainly on the conditions that exist before a hazard occurs and the expected level of resulting loss. The CSIR Green Book has developed a physical vulnerability index that is measured on a scale from 1 (low vulnerability) to 10 (high vulnerability). The map below shows the physical vulnerability score of each municipality in the province visually.
Economic vulnerability describes the potential risks posed by hazards on economic assets and processes. Potential hazards can include job losses, increased poverty and interruptions in business activities. The CSIR Green Book has developed an economic vulnerability index that is measured on a scale from 1 (low vulnerability) to 10 (high vulnerability). The map below shows the economic vulnerability score of each municipality in the province visually.
- CSIR. 2019. ‘Green Book | Adapting South African Settlements to Climate Change’. Green Book | Adapting South African Settlements to Climate Change. 2019. www.greenbook.co.za.
- Le Roux, A, E van Huyssteen, K Arnold, and C Ludick. 2019. ‘The Vulnerabilities of South Africa’s Settlements’. Green Book. 2019. https://pta-gis-2-web1.csir.co.za/portal/apps/GBCascade/index.html?appid=280ff54e54c145a5a765f736ac5e68f8.
- SANParks. 2011a. ‘CCAB – Current Biome Delineations 2011 [Vector Geospatial Dataset]’. Available from the Biodiversity GIS website. http://bgis.sanbi.org/SpatialDataset/Detail/484
- SANParks. 2011b. ‘CCAB – High Risk Scenarios – Biome Delineations 2011 [Vector Geospatial Dataset]’. Available from the Biodiversity GIS website. http://bgis.sanbi.org/SpatialDataset/Detail/486.
Stats SA 2020: Electricity Sales (ES) from Stats SA by Province Source: http://www.statssa.gov.za/?
page_id=1854&PPN=P4141&SCH= 72843IPCC 2020. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Emission Factor Database https://www.ipcc-nggip.iges. or.jp/EFDB/main.php