SA-TIED work stream 5: Climate and energy as drivers of change

The unavoidable warming and potential substantial departures from prevailing weather patterns associated with climate change are likely to be major drivers of migration, agriculture, and international trade in Southern Africa, and globally. 

 The transformation of the energy system, driven by dramatic reductions in the costs of renewable generation technologies, favourable endowments of wind and sun in the southern Africa region, and a global imperative to reduce emissions to levels consistent with a stable climate, has direct and potentially powerful implications for the nature of infrastructure investment, agriculture, and trade. Water is an integrating element in terms of more rapid evapotranspiration, changes in precipitation, irrigation systems, rain-fed agriculture, cooling for thermal energy systems, and hydropower. 

There are numerous sets of interactions within this nexus of issues. For example, infrastructure is directly implicated in terms of power sector investment. Transportation infrastructure investment also has direct implications for energy consumption patterns and efficiency of energy use. In turn, climate change has direct implications for energy if changes in rainfall patterns result in changes in hydropower potential. It also has indirect implications for energy, via agriculture, if bio-energy becomes part of the energy mix. 

This work stream will build on work conducted under initiatives such as DUCC – Development under climate changeRegional growth and development in Southern Africa, and Africa’s energy futures. It will also build on existing partnerships and establish new ones, while maintaining a regional perspective.