Bad for jobs

SA has agreed to re­duce its green­house gas emis­sions, but what are the labour and the eco­nomic im­pli­ca­tions?

CityPress - - Business -

All com­pa­nies will re­ceive a “quota” of how much gas they may re­lease in that year.

Pollution plan: Com­pa­nies must sub­mit plans on how pollution can be pre­vented and how the bud­get can be ad­hered to.

Ac­count­abil­ity: A sys­tem will be put in place so that in­for­ma­tion can be gath­ered on how com­pa­nies are far­ing in terms of green­house gas emis­sions and whether they are re­main­ing within their bud­gets.

Judy Beau­mont, deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the de­part­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs, ad­mit­ted that the South African econ­omy was al­ready fac­ing many chal­lenges.

“We can­not just add an­other chal­lenge. But at the same time, we must re­alise that we have en­tered into an agree­ment and we must hon­our it. It’s about bal­anc­ing devel­op­ment and the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to Beau­mont, it was im­por­tant for South Africa to sign the agree­ment for the sake of the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional im­age.

If South Africa had not signed it, we would have been sub­ject to penal­ties.

“How­ever, we are not en­ter­ing this with­out it be­ing in­ves­ti­gated prop­erly,” she said. Var­i­ous talks are now tak­ing place:

The de­part­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs is en­gag­ing in dis­cus­sions with in­dus­tries, mines and all busi­nesses that may be af­fected;

A so­cioe­co­nomic im­pact study is be­ing done that will give an in­di­ca­tion of where the govern­ment will have to help to mit­i­gate the ef­fect of the agree­ment;

In co­op­er­a­tion with the de­part­ment of eco­nomic devel­op­ment, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is be­ing done to find out which in­dus­tries will be hit with job losses; and

The de­part­ment of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy is in­ves­ti­gat­ing which tech­nolo­gies are needed in South Africa to make the tran­si­tion eas­ier.

“The ques­tion is: if we do ever-less en­er­gy­in­ten­sive ac­tiv­i­ties, what will it mean for job losses? We are try­ing to plan for this,” Beau­mont said.

“Even though our econ­omy is in trou­ble and the threat of job losses is se­ri­ous, we need to start work­ing on this.”

Mean­while, South African com­pa­nies can sub­mit vol­un­tary green­house gas bud­gets un­til 2020.

Molewa an­nounced that such com­pa­nies would be el­i­gi­ble for a tax de­duc­tion of 5% when the new green­house gas emis­sion leg­is­la­tion takes ef­fect.

Ac­cord­ing to Mukoki, we must look at how the agree­ment can be met with­out “killing in­dus­tries” and caus­ing job losses.

He agreed that South Africa should par­tic­i­pate in the agree­ment. “We can­not be seen as a traitor state. We need ac­cess to the in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. But we can­not let a prob­lem get the bet­ter of us. If you have a flat wheel, you get a jack and you jack your car up, and if your jacket gets dirty in the process, you send it to the dry clean­ers af­ter­wards.”

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