Climate change projections and public behaviour towards adopting integrated mitigation and adaptation approaches at a household level in urban areas, the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.
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Globally since the 1970s, the temperature has increased rapidly and remains unpredictable because of its accelerating pace (Thompson, 2010). This has increased the frequency and intensity of daily temperature, together with humidity and extreme heat waves. This has further resulted to increased heat-mortality and decreasing cold-related deaths; extreme flooding; droughts and/or extreme wildfires in some locations. Urban areas around the round are not free from such climate change impacts, and could be compounded with project climate change. Against this backdrop, the aim of this study is to evaluate local climate projections against past, current and future trends and to evaluate public behaviour towards adopting integrated climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches at a household level in urban areas, in the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. To achieve this aim of this study, temperature, precipitation, and humidity anomaly trends in the eThekwini Municipality from were 1957-2014 were evaluated. Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 W/m–2 radiative forcing from the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) was used to evaluate projected mean annual trends in maximum and minimum temperature, and precipitation. RCP 8.5 W/m–2 radiative forcing was also used to identify mean monthly anomaly trends for maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation, hot days, dry spells and heat stress for the years 2016-2090. The radiative forcing of 8.5 W/m–2 is the projected future condition of extreme warming and predicts that mitigation alone will not change the circumstances of global warming and local climate change. The projections are based on an increasing population growth, the lowest rate in the development of technology, high poverty, and increasing emissions. The projected results reveal that the eThekwini Municipality will continue to undergo fluctuating trends in maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation, and humidity and this will exacerbate future projected heat stress, heat spells, dry spells and hot days. The synergy between mitigation and adaptation is necessary to avoid the extreme impacts of climate change. The urban household sector is argued to drive climate change action and build adaptive capacity to risks that are unavoidable. To assess public behaviour towards adopting integrated climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches, 100 questionnaires were distributed to urban households in the eThekwini Municipality. Key informants from the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) and South African Weather Service (SAWS) were also interviewed on various aspects of climate change. This was supplemented by focus group interviews with delegates from the Durban Adaptation Charter and Climate Reality Workshop, The assessment of public behaviour and responses towards adopting integrated mitigation and adaptation approaches at a household level in urban areas show that short-term curtailment measures overarch long-term efficient measures. Urban households have demonstrated some level of awareness towards climate change and its associated impacts. It was found that local perceptions and behavioural responses to mitigate and adapt to climate change was shaped by governmental institutions and their involvement within urban communities in the eThekwini Municipality. Transformational and integral theories hold significance in changing the old dynamics of incremental, business-as-usual approaches into a proactive integration of mitigation and adaptation. This is a new approach to understanding that the rate of climate change is progressing, and transformational change is required in national and regional policy, which can invoke change at a local level and change urban household perceptions and responses to climate change.