A historic international partnership
[Letter to the editor]
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced a historic partnership with several other countries to support a just transition to a low carbon economy and a climate resilient society in South Africa.
This could be the turning point for South Africa to uphold every person’s right to unpolluted air and water and to avert the worst of climate change. The last few months have been so disappointing as South Africa has been considering unsustainable projects like the Karpowership deal and the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone that will only degrade our natural heritage.
Could it be that policy makers finally understand what science and even our own experience is showing us? Good news for North West and Limpopo is that many minerals will be needed to support the technology required for renewables. The mining sector must be held responsible to conduct progressive rehabilitation of land as per existing legislation. We just need the right people to do the right thing!
In preparation for COP26, South Africa submitted a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce domestic carbon emissions within a target range for emissions of between 420 CO2-eq and 350 CO2-eq by 2030.
This revised target is compatible with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and represents our country’s best effort to confront climate change, which will have a devastating impact on sub-Saharan Africa without large-scale mitigation and adaptation efforts.
Through the Political Declaration issued on 2 November, to establish this partnership, partner countries will mobilise an initial $8.5 billion (R131 billion) over the next three to five years through a range of instruments, including grants and concessional finance, to support the implementation of our revised NDC through a just transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy.
Bold and ambitious actions are required from all countries to confront climate change and South Africa has consistently argued that developed economies must support a just transition in developing economies.
Today’s Political Declaration represents a first-of-its kind partnership to turn these commitments into reality, and a model for similar forms of collaboration globally.
At the heart of this partnership is the importance of a just transition, which includes support for workers and communities affected by the transition away from coal and enables the creation of quality green jobs.
For the transition to be just, decarbonisation must be implemented in a manner that promotes and sustains employment, livelihoods and economic inclusion for historically marginalised communities and sectors of our society. A joint taskforce will be established to take forward the partnership over the coming months.
Presidency (extracts of press release)
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