Cloud­ing the pic­ture on cli­mate

Edna Molewa ar­gues for space to de­velop SA us­ing nat­u­ral re­sources

CityPress - - Business - Molewa is en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs min­is­ter. Fol­low her on @BEMolewa

The anal­y­sis of South Africa’s cli­mate change re­sponse pol­icy in the ar­ti­cle, “SA talks green as it burns up the coal” by Yolandi Groene-wald (City Press July 19 2015) ex­poses one glar­ing fact – that she has not read it.

South Africa’s po­si­tion on how we can mo­bilise po­lit­i­cal mo­men­tum to­wards am­bi­tious mit­i­ga­tion, adap­ta­tion and means of im­ple­men­ta­tion to ad­dress cli­mate change has been con­sis­tent.

City Press’ over­re­liance on the sub­jec­tive views of non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions presents only half a pic­ture, and does your read­ers a dis­ser­vice.

The cli­mate change re­sponse pol­icy is just one of the many pol­icy in­stru­ments that chart a course for ac­tions that are de­vel­op­men­tal and trans­for­ma­tional.

We have de­vel­oped long-term adap­ta­tion sce­nar­ios to in­form adap­ta­tion plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion at na­tional, pro­vin­cial and lo­cal lev­els, to en­sure our coun­try’s food, wa­ter, energy se­cu­rity and in­fra­struc­ture are not af­fected by cli­mate change.

Ex­ten­sive work has been done with busi­ness and in­dus­try on our mit­i­ga­tion po­ten­tial anal­y­sis in key eco­nomic sec­tors to un­der­stand the so­cial and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties and im­pacts of re­duc­ing emis­sions. Our na­tional green econ­omy strat­egy pro­vides the di­rec­tion for green­ing our econ­omy, at­tract­ing in­vest­ment, cre­at­ing jobs and im­prov­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness.

South Africa’s in­te­grated re­source plan is a sus­tain­able energy mix that in­cludes coal, re­new­ables, al­ter­na­tive energy, nat­u­ral gas and nu­clear power.

It is mis­lead­ing, there­fore, to sug­gest the gov­ern­ment has said it is mov­ing away from coal­based energy.

By 2030, how­ever, we aim to have de­creased fos­sil energy de­mand sig­nif­i­cantly, cre­at­ing al­ter­na­tive re­new­ables through tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, good be­havioural prac­tices and a public com­mit­ment to more ef­fi­cient, sus­tain­able and eq­ui­table energy use.

City Press can’t have it both ways: your writer ar­gues that gov­ern­ment’s leg­is­la­tion to con­trol emis­sions isn’t do­ing enough, but crit­i­cises the costs of com­pli­ance.

Four years ago, re­new­able energy projects were small and lack­ing in­vest­ment, but to­day there is rapid up­take through the Re­new­able Energy In­de­pen­dent Power Pur­chase Pro­gramme.

Although the tech­nolo­gies are cer­tainly be­com­ing cheaper, de­vel­op­ing base-load power hap­pens over time. As more re­new­able energy projects in­crease their con­tri­bu­tions to sta­bil­is­ing the grid, the greater their con­tri­bu­tions will be to the energy mix.

All our reg­u­la­tions and pol­icy doc­u­ments are fi­nalised af­ter ex­ten­sive stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion be­tween gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

There­fore, the claim that “the de­part­ments don’t talk to each other” is un­true.

Our nat­u­ral re­sources – if used re­spon­si­bly – can lead to the cre­ation of a more di­verse and in­clu­sive econ­omy, while ad­dress­ing job cre­ation and poverty erad­i­ca­tion.

South Africa is a de­vel­op­ing coun­try with the chal­lenges of poverty and un­em­ploy­ment. We will con­tinue to ar­gue for our space to de­velop.

On the mat­ter of the global cli­mate change ne­go­ti­a­tions, as cur­rent chair of the G77 + China, we will con­tinue to push for the in­clu­sion of the prin­ci­ple of com­mon but dif­fer­en­ti­ated re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and re­spec­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties as con­tained in the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.