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South Africa declares emissions targets

World Cement,

Prior to the start of COP15, the South African government issued a statement regarding its commitment to achieving a successful outcome. Key extracts from this statement follow here:

‘South Africa enters this phase of negotiations advocating for a successful outcome that will be inclusive, fair and effective; that has a balance between adaptation and mitigation; and a balance between development and climate imperatives. Success in Copenhagen should strengthen climate resilient development and must urgently assist the world’s poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to the inevitable impacts of a rapidly changing climate.

For South Africa, the major contributor to our emissions of Green House Gasses is our energy sector. However, the issue for developing countries like ours is not merely about addressing our Green House Gas emissions but also about energy security and energy access as well. The greatest challenge we face is how to ensure both energy security and access as a developmental imperative and at the same time laying the foundation for moving towards a path of low carbon growth. In the short to medium term we have an immediate energy supply challenge which alternative energy supply options cannot meet at affordable cost and at the scale needed, therefore, we are aggressively pursuing carbon efficient coal technology, in the medium term.

The science is very clear - there is no “silver bullet” - climate change is a huge global challenge which will take a combination of the full range of available interventions, technologies, policies and behavior changes to resolve the climate problem. It will also demand massive investment in new low carbon technologies. Economies across the world have to put long-term plans in place to transition towards a low carbon growth path. In this context, we have modeled South Africa’s mitigation potential and potential low carbon solutions in the Long Term Mitigation Scenario (LTMS) study. This work is being used to inform the policy choices that will allow us to aggressively address climate change in a way that unleashes the job creation and developmental opportunities of a 21st Century “Green Economy”.

As such, South Africa, being a responsible global citizen and in line with its obligations under article 4.1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change acknowledges its responsibility to undertake national action that will contribute to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In accordance with this, South Africa will undertake mitigation actions which will result in a deviation below the current emissions baseline of around 34% by 2020 and by around 42% by 2025. This level of effort enables South Africa’s emissions to peak between 2020 and 2025, plateau for approximately a decade and decline in absolute terms thereafter. This undertaking is conditional on firstly, a fair, ambitious and effective agreement in the international climate change negotiations under the Climate Change convention and its’ Kyoto Protocol and secondly, the provision of support, from the international community, and in particular finance, technology and support for capacity building from developed countries, in line with their commitments under both the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Bali Action Plan.’

The full statement can be found here.

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