While weather changes on a daily basis, climate represents the statistical distribution of weather patterns over time, and on a global scale has changed only very slowly in the past – usually over periods of tens of thousands of years or even millions of years which allows time for the earth’s bio-physical systems to adapt naturally to the changing climatic conditions. Currently, the global climate is changing much more rapidly as a result of global warming, leading to, among others, the melting of polar and glacier ice, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, more frequent floods and droughts and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones.
The rapid rate of this climate change does not allow the earth’s bio-physical systems to adapt to these changes naturally.
To improve air and atmospheric quality, lead and support, inform, monitor and report efficient and effective international, national and significant provincial and local responses to climate change.
- To identify, gather, sort, collate, store, archive, analyse, synthesize, distribute and popularise complete, accurate, and current climate change and climate change response data and information that ensures informed climate change response decision-making.
- To lead and/or support, inform, monitor and report efficient and effective national, provincial and local climate change mitigation responses.
- To lead and/or support, inform, monitor and report efficient and effective national, provincial and local climate change adaptation responses.
- To prepare for, negotiate and inform the implementation of multi-lateral, mini-lateral and bilateral climate change agreements.
- To ensure that reasonable legislative and other measures are developed, implemented and maintained in such a way as to protect and defend the right of all to air and atmospheric quality that is not harmful to health and well-being.