South Africa’s National Climate Change Response Policy, which was endorsed by Cabinet on October 12, represented “tangible” evidence that the country was serious about climate change, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Friday.
The aim of the policy is to effectively manage climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain South Africa’s social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity; and to make a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse-gas (GHG) concentrations.
The Minister said it was necessary to ensure that in the lead up the seventeenth Conference of Parties, COP 17, climate change conference, that South Africa had mechanisms in place to ensure that its own national objectives could be met.
This was also indicative by government’s commitment to reduce GHG by 34% against a ‘business as usual’ baseline by 2020.
Environmental Affairs chief negotiator Alf Wills said South Africa was “not waiting for anyone” to take action on climate change.
“As a developing country, the extent to which South Africa’s meets this trajectory would depend on the extent to which developed countries meet its finance and technology support commitments. The key issue is that we ‘can do more’ in taking action on climate change if developed countries support us,” he explained.
“We need to show the world that we can not only ‘walk the talk’ but also take action,” Molewa said.
The Minster said the success of the White Paper would also speak to adequate monitoring of its implementation, in which all departments in government, business, civil society, industries and South Africa citizens would work together on. “This paper calls for real action, and is not just a piece of policy.”
Meanwhile, within two years, South Africa would also design and publish a draft climate change response monitoring and evaluation system.
Department of Environmental Affairs chief director of air quality management and climate change Peter Lukey said although the system would be based on South African scientific measurement standards and will be undertaken through the Presidency’s outcomes-based system, it is expected that the system will evolve with international measuring, reporting and verification requirements.