South Africa close to a just transition framework



By Ndumiso Mlilo in Johannesburg, South Africa | | Updated: 2022-05-10 20:11

South Africans would like the country to see a just transition framework that prioritizes economic growth and the livelihoods of those affected by the transition to green energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

That came out of the two-day multi-stakeholder framework conference that ended Friday in Johannesburg to get feedback on what should be on the blueprint.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa established the Presidential Climate Commission in December 2020, which has been criss-crossing the country ever since, soliciting opinions on what people want to include in the framework. One of the messages that figured prominently during the deliberations was that workers and communities should be empowered and supported during the transition. They stressed that risks and opportunities should be distributed fairly.

Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, welcomed the views of various stakeholders. He said climate change should be compulsory and taught in basic, higher and community education, including workers from various organizations.

“We need a particular economic growth trajectory to deal with climate change. I am happy with the contribution, the focus has been on innovation, skills development and education. We cannot have education without climate change education, be it formal All sectors of society would be affected by this transition We are not going to have climate justice in the midst of corruption We need to integrate the fight against corruption,” Nzimande said.

He said people from various movements such as trade unions, political parties, faith-based organizations and communities defeated the apartheid government through unity, adding that unity is needed to fight climate change. .

There was consensus that urgent action is needed to tackle climate change. Many gave the example of the floods in KwaZulu-Natal, which claimed 435 lives and damaged infrastructure. Many participants said there must be good governance, transparency and accountability.

Lwandle Mqadi, a business and sustainability expert with the Industrial Development Corporation, said some people questioned whether the government had the capacity and capacity to implement a just transition. Mqadi said some have said there should be a just transition within all government departments, including local authorities.

She said some recommended government policies need to be aligned with a just transition, adding that they explore possible financing mechanisms, including development finance institutions, taxes, grants and incentives.

Brian Mantlana, commissioner for the Presidential Climate Commission, said there would be changes in all sectors of the economy, including energy, agriculture, land use and livelihoods people.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, director of external affairs for Vodacom South Africa, said businesses should make the transition to using cleaner energy. She said they have a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diversifying the energy mix. Netshitenzhe said there was an urgent need to shift to a low-emission economy.

She said: “This is particularly important for workers in sectors most affected by global warming, such as energy, construction, mining and agriculture. As we transition to a low-carbon economy, we also have a responsibility to leave no one behind. Our new target for energy consumption is one of the many ways we are tackling our own environmental impact, as we understand that South Africa cannot transition to a sustainable, climate-resilient, low-emissions economy. if everyone plays their part.

Fikile Mbalula, South Africa’s transport minister, said the government would pursue a “people-centred approach” to dealing with the impacts of climate change. He said they would like to move away from fossil fuel use carefully while protecting and empowering workers and communities. Mbalula said the right framework should be carefully crafted and help the country navigate towards cleaner energy.

He said: “We cannot afford to be wrong. The risks are too great for our people, for our climate and for our future economic competitiveness. We must continue to phase out coal in a carefully structured and planned way. Specifically, this means repurposing and repowering our existing coal-fired power plants and creating new livelihoods for the workers and communities most affected by the change. »

The President’s Commission on Climate Change will use the inputs from the conference and those collected across the country in the recommendations that will be submitted to the government by the middle of the year.

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