Al Gore talks climate change in SA

Cape Town - Former US vice president Al Gore provides an overview of how climate change is being driven by humans and how the world is changing due to this.

Gore is in South Africa for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. The event is being held in Johannesburg and is major movement to change people’s perceptions about climate change.

According to the Mail and Guardian Gore believes that the current way the world thinks about climate change and how we use fossil fuels needs to change. Current systems are destroying how we live on the Earth and how future generations live here.

Gore illustrated how temperatures are increasing globally since 1884. 2013 was again another year where average temperatures increased above the 20th century average.

South African flora

When average temperatures go up so do extreme weather says Gore.

The reason why temperatures are increasing is primarily because humans are releasing gases into the air further increasing pollution.

Ninety million tons of CO2 and other gasses are pumped out every day making the planet even hotter. Gore equates man made pollution to 400 000 atomic bombs.

Since the 1980s the planets days continue to get warmer as a result extreme weather happens 10% more than it used to.

Scientists have now been forced to think differently about global warming. It was previously argued that global warming increased the possibility of floods and droughts now the belief is that global warming is influencing all events on the globe.

Typhoon Haiyan is an example of this said Gore, the typhoon that hit the Philippines last year. When it passed over the ocean the water was 3°C warmer that its usual temperature, as a result the super storm gained more water and more energy.

The same can be said for Hurricane sandy, the oceans that drove the storm was 5°C warmer increasing the devastation.

Over the last 30 years the planet’s humidity levels have grown by 4%. For every 1°C rise in temperature humidity is increased by 7%.

What this means is more rain and heavier more devastating storms according to Gore.

Furthermore increased temperatures lead to increased evaporation which causes water to leave the soil which leads to more droughts.

In Sub-Saharan Africa Gore argues that global warming will lead to a 2°C increase in temperatures. This in turn will contribute to an increase in maize and millet production.

In Uganda a 2°C increase will basically mean that coffee production will decrease drastically.

In South Africa particularly Gore said that our plant species is at risk. With an 1.5°C increase in temperatures half of our local flora could be gone.