Northern Cape

This page provides a summary of key provincial climate change issues and links to district level climate change information. Click on the links on the right for more information on each of the District Municipalities in the Province.

Climate Change Strategy

The Northern Cape province is in the process of updating its climate change strategy. The updated strategy will include both mitigation and adaptation.

Provincial Overview

The Northern Cape is situated on the west coast of South Africa. The capital city of the province is Kimberly. It is neighboured by Namibia and Botswana in the north, Western Cape and Eastern Cape to the south and Free State and North West in the east. The Northern Cape is the biggest South African province, covering close to a third of the country’s surface area. Despite its large size the Northern Cape has the smallest population of all the provinces with 1.146 million people (Census, 2011). This is a result of the largely arid climate of the province. The majority of the human population is located in the northern and north-eastern regions of the province, close to mining and agricultural activities which are the two main economic activities in the Northern Cape (SoE, 2014). The agriculture and mining sectors provide the highest financial inputs to the province, while the highest employment is offered by the agriculture, forestry and fishing; community and social services; wholesale and retail trade; and mining and quarrying sectors. The province has five districts (shown in Figure 1): Namakwa, ZF Mgcawu, John Taolo Gaetsewe, Frances Baard and Pixley ka Seme.

Figure: Northern Cape province and its municipalities

Greenhouse Gas Data

Electricity Sales

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.

Figure: Total electricity sales (GgCO2e) in Northern Cape

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. 

Figure: Total liquid fuel sales (GgCO2e) in Northern Cape

Key Climate Hazards

Increasing temperatures

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.

Figure: Projected changes in annual average temperatures throughout Northern Cape over the period 2021-2050 under the RCP 8.5 scenario (CSIR 2019)

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.

Figure: Projected changes in annual average rainfall throughout Northern Cape over the period 2021-2050 under the RCP 8.5 scenario (CSIR 2019)

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.

Figure: Projected changes in the annual average number of extreme rainfall days throughout Northern Cape over the period 2021-2050 under the RCP 8.5 scenario (CSIR 2019)

Changing Biomes

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.

Figure: The current delineation of biomes in Northern Cape (SANParks 2011a)
Figure: The predicted shift in biomes in Northern Cape using a high-risk scenario (SANParks 2011b)

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.

Socio-Economic Vulnerability

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.

Figure: Socio-economic vulnerability per local municipality in Northern Cape (Le Roux, van Huyssteen, et al. 2019)

Environmental Vulnerability

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.

Figure: Environmental vulnerability per local municipality in Northern Cape (Le Roux, van Huyssteen, et al. 2019)

Physical Vulnerability

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.

Figure: Physical vulnerability per local municipality in Northern Cape (Le Roux, van Huyssteen, et al. 2019)

Economic Vulnerability

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.

Figure: Economic vulnerability per local municipality in Northern Cape (Le Roux, van Huyssteen, et al. 2019)

References