Delegates to the UNFCCC take South Africa’s views to COP 15, 2009
Climate change has become the major concern drawing the attention of different environmental groups, governments and organisations. South Africa is concerned about the potential impacts of climate change, as are other nations, developed and developing. From 17 to 18 November 2009, chairpersons of various South African parliamentary portfolio committees invited the public to make comments and recommendations on what should finally make up the South African report on climate change during COP 15 this year. Hence, the South African delegation that takes part in the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen (COP 15) this year carry with them the recommendations that have been made.
Various parliamentary portfolio committees were involved since climate change is seen as a multi-sectoral, inter-departmental, national, provincial and local government issue. The meeting allowed the committees to draw inputs from a pool of mostly experienced stakeholders and individuals, business, labour, research institutions and civil society movements.
The public hearings were in line with Parliament’s aim to enhance public participation in its processes. The recommendations submitted have been included in the report that will be used by the South African negotiating team and will hopefully make their way into a new international climate framework.
In the Copenhagen 2009 meeting it is hoped that developed countries will make commitments to reduce carbon emissions by a significant percentage since they are the biggest polluters.
The International Panel on Climate Change recommends that developed countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 to 24 per cent by 2020 and 80 to 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050 to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures.
‘At international level South Africa should seek a legally-binding climate change outcome in line with the Convention’ says Chris Moseki, research manager at the Water Research Commission, who has a focus on climate change and is also participating in the COP 15 as a South African negotiating team member.
‘At the negotiations the South African team should insist on an adaptation fund that is predictable, adequate and accessible’ he says. ‘There is urgent need for transfer of technology and capacity building by the developed countries to the developing countries’ he adds.
South Africa is a relatively small carbon emitter on a global scale but a high emitter per capita (distributed geographically and socio-economically) and a very high emitter per unit of GDP. Fossil fuel usage and export, in the form of coal, is still very high in South Africa.
According to Chris Moseki, national responses should comprise a mix of strategies that include both adaptation and mitigation, appropriately supported by research (across the climatic, physical and human sciences and technological development). Sectoral responses should be biased towards either adaptation or mitigation, depending on the nature of the particular sector.
Contact : Chris Moseki
Research Manager : Water Resources Management
Tel: 012 330 9030