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‘SA struggling to understand effects of climate change’

An institute says the answers may be found in South Africa’s involvement in the COP21 negotiations.

FILE: A school girl tries to collect water from a dry puddle in Nongoma, in KwaZulu-Natal, which has been badly affected by the recent drought. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - As global leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA) at Wits University say South Africans are still struggling to understand how changing environmental conditions will affect them.

South Africa will play an active role at the COP21 gathering, acting as an advocate for other developing countries during talks around climate change.

However, the institute says many are unaware of what impact the country's involvement in negotiations will have on them individually.

The institute's Agathe Maupin says many drought stricken farmers have questions about what government can do to help them.

"If I really experience a couple of droughts in a row, what is my government going to do for me? I think that's what a South African farmer would be interested in."

She says the answers may be found in South Africa's involvement in the COP21 negotiations.

"The South African government is actually aware of how climate change is likely to have a very important impact."

Next week leaders from over 190 countries will gather in Paris, each offering their own plans to help reduce greenhouse carbon emissions and limit climate change.