by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE fight against climate change is a priority for the South African government amidst the country battling the worst coronavirus outbreak in the continent.
That is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa after he last week joined more than 40 world leaders at a climate summit convened by United States President, Joe Biden, to discuss the former.
“Even as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling climate change is a national priority for South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
He was writing in his weekly letter, made available on Monday.
The president said an important part of South Africa’s response is the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which outlines targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Each country submits targets to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change every five years.
Last month, South Africa published its updated NDC for public comment ahead of submission to the Glasgow Summit in November.
The new NDC proposes a significant reduction in emissions target ranges.
“By implementing our mitigation strategy, we aim to see our carbon emissions progressively declining from 2025. This is a decade earlier than previously expected,” Ramaphosa stated.
He added, “As a country we are committed to contributing our fair share to the global climate effort.”
One of the tasks of the newly-established Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission is to advise government on an ambitious and just transition to a low-carbon economy.
The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan launched in October last year has several measures to drive business and job creation in green industries, and our Integrated Resource Plan 2019 envisages the building of renewable energy capacity that can produce over 17 gigawatts of electricity by 2030.
“These goals will only be achieved through collaboration across society, with government, labour, business, civil society and communities all working together towards a just transition,” Ramaphosa said.
He called for greater investment in climate resilient systems and processes, from smart agriculture, to clean energy, to green infrastructure to public transport.
The financial sector has been urged to continue to play a role by scaling up project financing for renewable energy and other green initiatives.
Drought is recognised as one of the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change in South Africa, already a water scarce country.
It has experienced prolonged drought in parts of the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape.
The coming of the rains last year broke a seven-year drought, the longest in over a century.
– CAJ News