Impacts of climate change : some economic considerations for decision-makers in the City of Cape Town, using Langebaan Lagoon as a case study

Haskins, Craig Ian (2005-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2005

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Strong scientific evidence suggests that global warming is altering the world's climate and that this phenomenon is being accelerated as a result of human activities. Climate change is affecting weather patterns and, in addition to demonstrated sea-level rise, these in turn have and are likely to continue having significant, mostly negative, impacts - both economic and loss of life - on governments, industries and people. Ocean levels rose between 15 and 20 centimeters in the 20th century, mostly as a result of melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the oceans. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2001a: 16) in its 2001 estimate suggests a potential rise in average sea level from nine to 88 centimeters from 1990 to 2100. Areas of risk in the City of Cape Town are residential property, infrastructure and beaches in low-lying areas. These areas are likely to be impacted as a result of increasing sea-level rise and increasing severity and frequency of storms. This study seeks to • demonstrate that sufficient evidence exists to compel decision-makers in the City of Cape Town that climate change and the impacts of sea-level rise and increasing frequency and severity of storms need to be considered in development planning; and • test cost-benefit analysis (through climate change impact analysis) as a tool for decision-makers to consider adaptation measures, using Langebaan as a case study. The research comprises a comprehensive literature study of the impacts of climate change, particularly with respect to coastal areas. A case study based on the eroding beaches at Langebaan is used to test cost-benefit analysis as a tool for decision-makers in dealing with the impacts. Despite the uncertainties associated with the impacts of climate change (time, place and extent) the issues of sea-level rise and severe storms seem to warrant further investigation, especially at a local level. This study provides local context to a global problem and makes recommendations for decision-makers in the City of Cape Town. Climate impact analysis (incorporating cost-benefit analysis) is suggested as a tool to quantify avoided damages at vulnerable coastal sites in the City of Cape Town. In conclusion, the impacts of climate change are a complex and multivariate problem. However, there are a number of identified vulnerable areas along the coastline of the City of Cape Town and using tools like climate impact analysis and cost-benefit analysis may assist in identifying, costing and managing these economic risks before the problem becomes unmanageable - a case for quantifying avoided damage.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sterk wetenskaplike bewyse bestaan dat globale verwarming besig is om die wêreld se klimaat te verander en hierdie verskynsel word versnel deur die mens se handelinge. Klimaatsverandering affekteer weerpatrone en bykomend tot gedemonstreerde stygende seevlakke, sal dit waarskynlik 'n langdurige en meestal negatiewe impak - beide ekonomies en lewensverlies - op regerings, industrieë en mense hê. Seevlakke het in die twintigste eeu met tussen 15 en 20 sentimeter gestyg, meestal as gevolg van smeltende ysberge en hitte uitsetting van die oseane. Die 'International Panel on Climate Change' (IPCC, 2001a: 16) het in hul skatting 'n waarskynlike seevlak styging van tussen 9 en 88 sentimeters voorspel vir die tydperk 1990 - 2100. Risikogebiede in die Stad Kaapstad is residensiële gebiede, infrastruktuur en strande in laagliggende gebiede. Hierdie gebiede sal ge-affekteer word deur stygende seevlakke en groter en meer gereelde storms. Hierdie studie poog om • te demonstreer dat voldoende bewyse bestaan om besluitnemers van die Stad Kaapstad te oortuig dat weerveranderinge en die impak van seevlakstygings en toenemende storms in aanmerking geneem moet word in ontwikkelings beplanning; en • koste-voordeel analises (deur klimaatsverandering impak analises) te beproef as 'n hulpmiddel vir besluitnemers om aanpasbare maatreëls te oorweeg, deur Langebaan as 'n voorbeeld te gebruik. Ten spyte van onsekerhede wat saamgaan met die impak van klimaatverandering (tyd, plek en omvang) regverdig die problem van stygende seevlakke en erge storms verdere ondersoek, meer spesifiek op plaaslike vlak. Hierdie studie gee plaaslike konteks aan 'n globale probleem en maak aanbevelings aan beplanners van die Stad Kaapstad. Klimaat impak analises word as hulpmiddel voorgestel om vermybare skades by kwesbare kusgebiede in die Stad Kaapstad te kwantifiseer. Ten slotte: die impak van klimaatsverandering is 'n komplekse probleem met baie fasette. Nietemin is daar verskere sensitiewe areas langs die kus van Stad Kaapstad, en klimaat impak analises en koste-voordeel analises kan help met die identifisering, kosteberekening en bestuur van hierdie ekonomiese risiko areas, voordat dit onhanteerbaar raak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50366
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