Jan 20, 2011
SA should realistically manage Durban climate meeting expectationsBack
Cancun|Copenhagen|DURBAN|China|Mexico|South Africa|United States|Joanne Yawitch|Rohitesh Dhawan
© Reuse this
“It’s important that we are very real about what is possible” at the seventeenth conference of the parties (COP17), said Department of Environmental Affairs deputy director-general Joanne Yawitch, who forms part of the South African negotiation team.
“At the same time,” Yawitch continued, “there is a sense that you can’t dump the big political questions anymore. We are going to need to engage with some of the issues that the Mexicans [at COP16 in Cancun] didn’t. So, it puts us in a situation where one must not build expectations too high, but at the same time one must not dumb them down too much either.”
She added that striking the appropriate balance was important to ensure that the conference in Durban did not deliver an agreement that was either meaningless, or unachievable.
At the most recent meeting, COP16 in Cancun, Mexico kept expectations for a legally binding agreement very low, compared with the COP15 gathering in Copenhagen, which had high expectations but delivered only disappointment.
One of the major issues was the changing political dynamics between member states. The US was unlikely to move very far in the negotiations owing to domestic politics, while other countries such as China would not take on obligations unless the US did.
Expectations were likely to be high leading up to the Durban meeting, because the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, and the world is looking for clarity on the framework under which emissions reduction will operate going forward.
It is as yet unclear whether there would be a second legally-binding commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, or whether an entirely new treaty would be established, or whether a non-legally binding treaty would be established.
South Africa put forward its country commitments on greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction at Copenhagen in 2009, and now further work is needed at a sectoral level to reach these targets.
At the 2009 climate change conference, under the Copenhagen Accord, South Africa said that its emissions would peak, and plateau and decline.
It committed to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions to enable a 34% deviation below the ‘business as usual' emissions growth trajectory by 2020, and a 42% deviation below the ‘business as usual' trajectory by 2025.
The reduction commitments were conditional on receiving financial and technology assistance from developed nations.
The commitments were once again reiterated at the 2010 conference in Cancun, where agreements within the purely political Copenhagen Accord, were more formally recognised, and the Cancun Agreement emerged.
“We need to start looking at, how do we peak, plateau and decline? What is it that we are going to need to do, and what is it that we need from the international community to do more, to reach what we listed in Copenhagen? I think the challenge for business - and I think we have engaged with it around the [national] policy process in quite a lot of detail - is to say, what does that mean for business sector by sector, and then eventually industry by industry?” questioned Yawitch.
KPMG resources economist and sustainability adviser Rohitesh Dhawan reiterated that the major message for business taken from the Cancun meeting was that “success in the green economy will be driven by business through governments, and not by governments through business”.
He said that both the public and private sectors needed to fully grasp the opportunities that could be presented by nationally appropriate mitigation actions and low carbon development strategies.
“Its becoming fairly evident that the global climate policy will consist of individual national country actions, joined up to some framework. Within these individual national country actions the private sector will play an increasingly important role, both on adaptation and mitigation through technology and finance,” he said, highlighting the need for robust government and business dialogue.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Climate Change News
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
Updated 1 hour 9 minutes ago Telecommunications group Gilat Satcom on Monday said it was set to sponsor the second yearly Great Rift Valley Mining Summit, where it planned to unveil new mining-focused mobile satellite services and technologies. The summit, held from March 13 to 14, in Lusaka,...
Updated 2 hours 4 minutes ago The amount of senior business positions filled by women in South Africa declined by 2%, to 26% this year, while 21% of local businesses had no women in senior management positions, auditing firm Grant Thornton’s 2014 International Business Report’s (IBR’s)...
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
This Week's Magazine
This month’s report includes details of junior miner Papillon Resources’ mining permit for its flagship Fekola gold project, in Mali; the Waterberg Coal Company’s feasibility on the development of an opencast mine, in Limpopo, to produce ten-million tonnes a...
A structured approach, wherein managers personally engage at each level of the project, is necessary to mitigate delays to the workflow on mega construction projects, says State-owned Eskom Kusile power station projects GM Abram Masango. The 4 800 MW Kusile power...
Construction of transmission lines to evacuate power from a regional hydroelectric project in East Africa, which was hanging on the balance following the withdrawal of financing by key partners, is now back on track. After six months of uncertainty, the African...
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between South African and Malaysian companies at the Malaysian High Commission in Pretoria on Friday. These MoUs are part of the indirect offsets programme South Africa is providing in return for Malaysia’s...
The South African new vehicle market may well dip to 640 000 units in 2014, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) sales and marketing senior VP Calvyn Hamman. This is the first prediction that anticipates a drop in the market. To date economists and industry bodies...