The Upward March of Global Warming

March 2024 was the hottest March on record and the 10th consecutive month of historic heat across the planet. In its monthly bulletin, published on 9 April 2024, the Copernicus Climate Chante Service (C3S) reported that April 2023 – March 2024 saw the highest global average temperature on record for a 12-month period.

Monthly global surface air temperature anomalies (°C) relative to 1850–1900 from January 1940 to March 2024, plotted as a time series for each year. 2024 is shown with a thick yellow line, 2023 with a thick red line, and all other years with thin lines shaded according to the decade, from blue (1940s) to brick red (2020s). Data source: ERA5. Credit: C3S/ECMWF.

South Africa’s average temperature is increasing at twice the global average rate, and extreme weather events and climate impacts on water security are being experienced. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that since 2015, South Africa has experienced increased temperatures and record-low levels of rainfall, and its model predicts that by 2050, the country will see its climate variability range increase threefold.

This record-breaking high-temperature trend is primarily due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and proves the urgent need to decarbonise our economies.

The largest portion of these global-warming gases is emitted by the energy sector’s burning of fossil fuels, which, in South Africa, amounts to almost 80%. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the energy sector needs to urgently expand renewable electricity generation and replace fossil fuel energy use with renewable energy use.

Large-scale renewable energy wheeling is one of the most effective ways to expand and expedite this process; more brown energy is displaced by bringing more renewable energy onto the national distribution grid at a rapid and large scale. NOA procures renewable energy from its own wind, solar PV, and battery assets and independent power producers. This energy is aggregated at NOA Group Trading, which then supplies clean energy to small, medium and large businesses in South Africa, enabling them to reduce their reliance on brown energy. Over time, this allows the national energy mix to shift towards green energy whilst simultaneously increasing energy availability at a national level, helping to reduce load-shedding for all South Africans.

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