South Africa’s Climate Commitment Project Offers Faster Emissions Reductions, But Targets Large Increase in Annual Climate Finance to $ 8 Billion

South Africa’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) project unveiled by Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on March 30 offers more emission reductions rapid, but also underscores the need for a radical shift in international climate finance to support the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Direct consultations will now take place with stakeholders until the end of May, including with the nine provinces, while written contributions can be submitted to the ministry until April 30.

Following an integration of stakeholder contributions, the updated NDC will be subject to final Cabinet approval before being filed with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prior to climate negotiations. of COP26, which are due to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

The 30-page document includes a proposed commitment to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 at a faster pace than outlined in its current commitment to the UNFCCC, which was tabled in October 2015. Under the Paris Agreement, to which South Africa is a signatory, all parties are required to file NDCs every five years.

The paper also quantifies the cost of mitigation and adaptation measures and highlights the need for much higher levels of climate finance to support South Africa’s transition, proposing that this increase by some $ 2 billion per year. currently around $ 8 billion by 2030.

Creecy acknowledged during the unveiling of the document that while some stakeholders might find the commitments too ambitious, others were likely to be disappointed as the NDC was not yet aligned to ensure the country’s transition to net zero emissions of ‘by 2050.

She stressed, however, that an NDC could not be ambitious and should reflect both the context and South Africa’s commitments on climate change mitigation and adaptation that could be implemented “just right”. So that citizens whose livelihoods would be affected by the transition from coal to renewables are “not left out”.

The recently created Presidential Coordinating Commission on Climate Change, which held its inaugural meeting in February, should be seen as a key instrument in developing a ‘whole-of-government, economic and whole-social’ approach to finalize a net zero roadmap that could be funded and implemented.

“We’re not there yet,” Creecy explained.

The document proposes a range of GHG emissions in 2025 of 398 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent units (CO2-eq) at 510 Mt CO2-eq, and a range of 398 Mt CO2-eq at 440 Mt CO2-eq in 2030. This represents a reduction of 17% and 28% of the upper limit of the target range in 2025 and 2030 respectively – the upper limit was previously set at 614 Mt CO2-eq.

The targets for 2025 and 2030 correspond to two five-year horizons, from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2025 and from January 1, 2026 to December 31, 2030.

Chief Director of International Climate Change Negotiations Maesela Kekana said the 2025 and 2030 target ranges assumed that key energy and transport policies would be implemented over the period, including the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2019) for the electricity, the green transport strategy, the deployment of energy efficiency programs and the continued gradual implementation of the carbon tax.

The targets also took into account that there would be no new coal-fired power plants built in addition to those provided for in the 2019 IRP, which provides for an allocation of 1,500 MW of new coal by 2030.

He also claimed that the ranges published in the draft update were consistent with South Africa’s “fair share” as calculated using the Climate Action Tracker and the Climate Equity Reference Calculator.

The NDC project also includes South Africa’s first adaptation communication under the Paris Agreement.

Kekana said the adaptation communication would support key sectors that are affected by the impacts of climate change, including human settlements, agriculture, water and energy.

Five adaptation goals are described, including a goal of mobilizing funds for the implementation of adaptation through multilateral funding mechanisms.

South Africa reiterates its expectation in the NDC that developed countries should continue to provide and mobilize climate finance to support country-driven strategies in accordance with Article 9 of the Paris Agreement, which states that there should be support for mitigation and adaptation actions taken by developing countries. countries.

The NDC project indicates that South Africa received $ 4.9 billion in climate finance in 2018 and 2019, or about $ 2.4 billion per year, mostly in the form of loans and mainly to support climate projects. ‘mitigation.

“South Africa’s primary goal for its first updated NDC is to access significantly higher levels of climate finance during the implementation periods of the first NDC, accessing a total of 4 , $ 5 billion per year from multilateral and bilateral sources by 2025, and a total of $ 8 billion per year by 2030, equally split between adaptation and mitigation, and additional funding mobilized from this base, as well as other forms of support from bilateral and multilateral sources, as needed.

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