South Africa’s Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has recog- nised that climate change is a major threat to economic growth, sustainable development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and will release the country’s draft ‘zero’ climate change policy for comment this month.
The draft policy was informed by the deliberations that took place at the climate change summit t held in Johannesburg in March. Comments from the draft ‘zero’ policy, as well as any potential agreements reached at the Copenhagen global climate negotiations, in December, will then contribute to the Green Paper.
South Africa’s national climate change response policy is set to be developed by the end of 2010, and the related fiscal, legislative and regulatory package is expected to be implemented by 2012.
This policy, says Imbewu Sustainability Legal Specialists, is likely to assist in the scaling up of the clean-, low-carbon-technology market in South Africa.
The firm adds that this national policy mix is likely to include command-and-control, market-based and voluntary instruments to tackle the challenge of climate change, including measures for clean technology transfer and development.
Imbewu director Andrew Gilder further notes that the development and transfer of low-carbon technology could contribute to the macroeconomic and social aims of the country, including sustainable development, economic development, economic competitiveness, job creation, poverty alleviation, energy access and security, and will also assist in the transition to a low-carbon economy. It could also meet the specific needs of companies, be they commercial, legislative, performance,
efficiency or cost-effectiveness needs.
A report compiled by Imbewu Sustainability Legal Specialists under the auspices of the Global Climate Network, entitled ‘Development and Transfer of Clean/Low Carbon Technologies in South Africa’, notes that, to ensure that the clean-, low-carbon-technology development, deployment and transfer take place in South Africa, will require comprehensive national policy and regulatory measures, or instruments that deal with a multitude of issues, explains Imbewu.
The report also states that the policy will need clear strategic aims and priorities, including identifying priority technologies supported by detailed action plans; sustaining a high level of research and innovation by the indigenous private sector; and better communication and data management.
The policy should also deal with management matters and the need for effective planning management; capacity building, including proactive capacity building to sustain the scale-up of the market and imple- mentation of educational programmes; and governance, together with the need to develop a national and regional excellence centre, and develop a national hub, and cooperative governance and integration.
Importantly, the policy must also tackle financial matters, including the need to scale up investment; develop public–private partnerships; develop new and adequate financial instruments or mechanisms; integrate and centralise different sources of funding; set a fair price for clean energy; and scale up the use of the Clean Development Mechanism and the international carbon market.
The policy will need to consider market-related issues, including the need to develop mandatory standards, guidelines and targets to stimulate the market scale-up, develop awareness and develop ‘niche’ markets.
Finally, the policy should also deal with commercial and economic matters, including the need to rationalise the energy sector and electricity prices; create an enabling legal environment for investments; review ‘negative substitutes’ on nonclean technologies; create a market-based instrument; facilitate commercialisation of technologies; and scale up research funds.
Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership senior associate Stefan Rauben-heimer warns that “there is a grave degree of defensiveness and caution” when it comes to policymaking in South Africa, and that while government is committed to the idea of tackling climate change, it is not ready to implement actions.