More action needed on climate change
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape deliberated yesterday on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) with regards to climate change.
The NDCs highlight government’s plans for climate actions and climate related targets for matters including greenhouse gas emission reductions, policies and measures.
Anton Bredell, the Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning delivered the keynote address and stated that governments must change the way they do things, and quickly.
“Climate change is an economic and a social challenge and will undermine our development gains if we are not prepared. In future, climate change will impact food, water and energy security, our health and wellbeing, our living conditions, and the infrastructure and transport networks that our economic activities depend upon.”
Bredell says when it comes to climate change, society and all its parts need to transform and this transformation requires a level of urgency similar to the Covid response.
“Climate change is already affecting the most vulnerable communities in this province. We have first-hand experience of severe drought over the past few years as one major example. We must all make economic decisions and drive activities that are future-proof and sustainable in a carbon constrained world of the future. Decoupling economic activities from carbon-intensive energy is the direction to pursue.”
Bredell says governments need to make decisions for the future while taking cognisance of the realities of today.
“We live in a developing African country where resources are under extreme stress. The unemployment rate in South Africa is 34%, among the highest in the world and government here has many real social challenges to tackle. This must be taken into account when we plan for the future. The good news is that the science needed to guide our decision-making and responses largely exist, and many of the solutions are in fact already available. Collectively, we must strive to shape our post-Covid 19 economic recovery into an ever more low-carbon success story, embracing a future that will be built on cleaner energy, healthier air, greater energy security and more vibrant economic activity.”
The Western Cape Government has provided inputs into the NDC and emphasized the importance that the national ambitions recognize the importance of lowered carbon intensity for sustained social and economic progress. The WCG contributions as a province will emerge through the province’s revised WCCRS Vision 2050, and 2050 Emissions Pathway process.
Note: The Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy (WCCCRS) Vision 2050 is the updated climate change response strategy for the Western Cape, which is currently in draft form and will be out for public comment later this year. This Strategy is based on an ambitious vision for 2050 focussed on a low carbon and a resilient economy and society. The 2050 Emissions Pathway process, which is currently being developed, is a parallel process to the development of the Strategy, focused on measures and actions that will assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the Western Cape’s contribution to climate change.