South Africa

At a Glance

South Africa is characterized by a generally warm climate, with cooler temperatures in high altitude regions. In the past several decades, minimum and maximum temperatures have become both more frequent and extreme. The country's extensive coastline is impacted by heavy waves and storm surges, as well as rapid urbanization. South Africa's most significant climate vulnerabilities stem from water availability challenges. Warming temperatures and variable rainfall will increase evaporation and decrease stream flows, with negative implications for water storage systems. South Africa's greenhouse gas emissions are largely driven by electricity and heat production.

Climate Projections and Impacts

Refer to the Climate Risk Profile (2017) for more information.

Climate Projections


Increased Frequency/Intensity of Extreme Weather Events


Increased Precipitation Unpredictability/Variability


Increased Temperature

Key Climate Impacts



Energy & Infrastructure


Funding and Key Indicators

USAID Climate Change Funding (2020)


$1.5 Million


$1.5 Million

GAIN Vulnerability


Population (2020)

56.5 Million

GHG Emissions Growth


% Forested Area


EC-LEDS Partner Country


Climate Change Information

South Africa Photo Gallery

Stories from the Area

Landfills and wastewater treatment plants generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), from decomposing organic waste and wastewater treatment processes, respectively. What if there were ways to reduce GHG emissions while simultaneously creating renewable energy? And what if there were additional benefits beyond reducing emissions and creating energy?
According to USAID’s Southern Africa’s Climate Change Risk Profile, “Changes in water quality and availability will be the dominant changes seen under a new climate.” The sensitivity of livelihoods and economies to these changes, together with a lack of access to drinking water (and contamination of existing supply), threatens water security and resilience in a region where water demands are rising in response to an increasing population.
South Africa—the third most biodiverse country in the world—is home to more than 95,000 known species and a diverse range of biomes, from forests to deserts to river delta systems and more. The rich biodiversity of these natural areas plays an important role in the South African Government’s progressive green economy agenda, as it recognizes that those areas provide a wide range of ecosystem services for its people, including food, water, clean air, medicine, resources for livelihoods, recreation, and energy to power daily life and industry.