The hosting of the climate change conference in Durban was South Africa’s humble contribution to the world, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthesaid.
Motlanthe was speaking after he completed a 3km walk with scores of people at the Durban beach front on Sunday.
The walk was aimed at showing support in finding solutions for climate change ahead of the start of 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) on Monday.
The walk took place along a blue line created to demarcate where the sea could rise to over the next few decades if climate change was not addressed.
“I took part in this walk to show where the sea level may be as a result of climate change,” said Motlanthe.
He said it was important for the climate change conference to come up with a legally binding agreement on what would have to be done to deal with climate change.
“We have to do every thing we can to mitigate the disasters caused by climate change,” he said.
Mkhize said climate change had the potential to affect the KwaZulu-Natal economy.
“An increase of this magnitude could inundate coastal areas, erode beaches and exacerbate coastal flooding.”
On Sunday the Inkatha Freedom Party said it was important to educate the general public about climate change and the purpose of COP17.
The most prominent feature of climate change was an increase in the earth’s surface temperature and changes to rainfall patterns, said spokesperson Henry Combrinck in a statement.
He said extreme weather conditions such as floods and droughts would be likely to increase with the gases emitted when fossil fuels are burnt coupled with deforestation. Combrinck said biodiversity, commercial farming and forestry would also be negatively affected by the water shortages associated with climate change.
The COP 17 to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change is scheduled to begin on Monday and to run until December 9.