Spotlight Activity: South Africa Moves Forward with Climate Change Mitigation Policies and Plans
Honourable President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a statement to United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres regarding the country’s plans and commitments of climate change on September 23, 2019. In his statement, he said that “like all countries of the world, we recognize the urgency with which we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a carbon-neutral future”. However, with more countries transitioning away from coal to renewable energy, South Africa still lacks vision and urgency on climate change impacts.
“In fact, the recent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C has identified Southern Africa as a climate change hotspot. Our region is likely to become drier and drastically warmer even under 1.5 or 2°C of global warming,” said the President. “It is therefore crucial for our country to enhance the ambition of our Nationally Determined Contributions and communicate long-term low emissions development plans to put South Africa on a path to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
“South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 identifies poverty, inequality and unemployment as our most serious national development challenges. Overcoming these triple challenges fundamentally informs our approach to addressing climate change,” he noted.
Undoubtedly, there are massive challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality in South Africa, but the solution does not lie in the further promotion of coal, gas, and nuclear energy, which will only increase inequality while enriching a few. A vast national rollout of renewable energy is needed, not only at a large scale, but at a local and decentralised micro-grid level, which can be implemented everywhere, placing power in the hands of the people and bringing with it massive clean industrial development and job creation regionally. During the past few years South Africa has experienced devastating weather events and various regions of our country faced their worst drought in decades. The impact was felt most severely by the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of our society. Cape Town suffered from drought from 2015 to 2017, which brought the city to the verge of an unprecedented water crisis.
Status: Moving Forward
There are several climate change policies and plans in place in South Africa. As mentioned in the President’s statement, South Africa has already done much to address the challenge of climate change. A Carbon Tax was introduced and voluntary carbon budgets systems have been implemented for large emitters. REIPPP was also introduced and so far has procured 6 422 Megawatts. However, a better commitment to renewable energy is required for our country to move forward in a sustainable long-term solution.
Dear Honourable President Cyril Ramaphosa,
Mr. President, we are happy with the statement given to United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres regarding country’s plans and commitments of climate change. It is vital to meet the commitments made to United Nations secretary-general for our country to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
We urge you to establish a vast national rollout of renewable energy, not only at a large scale, but at a local and decentralised micro-grid level, which can be implemented everywhere, placing power in the hands of the people and bringing with it massive clean industrial development and job creation regionally.
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Tel: +27 (0)12 300 5200
See an overview “Statement by H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, 23 September 2019”, http://www.dirco.gov.za/docs/speeches/2019/cram0923.htm