Clouding the picture on climate
Edna Molewa argues for space to develop SA using natural resources
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.