PARIS CLIMATE DEAL
GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT,
South Africa’s signing of the landmark Paris agreement on climate change is good news for the environment, but bad news for the labour market and the economy. Job losses are apparently inevitable, and long-standing talks about carbon tax are again at the forefront.
According to the Paris agreement, South Africa has committed itself to begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. Altogether, 177 countries have signed the agreement.
However, mines and industries in South Africa rely heavily on energy sources that are not regarded as “clean” – such as coal – and now have five years to adapt so that they can meet the new requirements.
Alan Mukoki, CEO of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The impact will be significant. There will certainly be job losses.
“In addition, developing countries have a handicap because we do not have all the technology that is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa signed the agreement in New York on April 22. Countries have until April 21 next year to sign the pact. The agreement will come into force in 2020. The main purpose of the agreement is to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2°C and preferably by only 1.5°C.
Every country that signs the agreement also commits itself to a proposed Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, a term used under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which differs from country to country.
In terms of this, South Africa undertakes that its release of gases: Will slow down from 2021 to 2025; Will reach a plateau by 2025 that will be maintained for more or less a decade; and
Will then begin to reduce further. Countries that sign the agreement have until 2020 to put legislation and systems in place that will enable them to achieve their targets under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution.
Molewa said in her budget speech in March that South Africa would follow three steps to ensure the targets were met:
A greenhouse gas budget: