NCOP approves Climate Change Bill

29th April 2024 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

NCOP approves Climate Change Bill

Barbara Creecy

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has approved the Climate Change Bill.

“The Climate Change Bill will provide the much-needed legal framework to regulate activities that contribute to climate change; ensure an effective response in all spheres of government and by society at large; ensure a just transition; and maximise the opportunities afforded to our economy by the global shift to a green economy,” says Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.

“The NCOP’s approval of the Climate Change Bill is a landmark in our response to climate change. Since 2011, when we outlined South Africa’s response to climate change in our National Climate Change Response White Paper, we have been putting in place the instruments for an integrated response.

“This Bill will integrate all of these components into a robust legal framework and mainstream climate action across government,” she highlights.

The objectives of the Climate Change Bill are, among others, to enable the development of an effective climate change response and a long-term just transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy and society for South Africa in the context of sustainable development.

The Bill is aimed at ensuring that the climate actions are facilitated and coordinated across spheres of government.

It establishes provincial forums on climate change and municipal forums on climate change, which will be integrated into current institutions and planning processes.

It provides for the development of provincial and municipal climate change needs and response assessments, and corresponding climate change response implementation plans.

The Bill places the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) on a formal footing as an independent organ of State to provide advice on matters of just transition.

The PCC will continue to be headed by the President.

The Bill is said to provide clear frameworks for mitigation, adaptation and a mechanism to support and finance the country’s climate change response.

On mitigation, the Bill seeks to provide for a just transition away from South Africa’s current carbon-intensive energy system and towards a decarbonised economy and society, while meeting the country’s critical development challenges.

In this vein, the Bill formalises the country’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, to strengthen the evidence base for further climate action and its current reporting processes.

The Bill is also aimed at providing for the development of a long-term national greenhouse-gas emissions trajectory and its review from time to time, and establishes a clear legal basis for allocating sectoral emissions targets to relevant sectors, and carbon budgets to large emitters.

On adaptation, the Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of national adaptation objectives, the development of climate scenarios to assess vulnerabilities, and a National Adaptation Strategy and Plan to manage adaptation in a clear and coordinated manner.

The Bill also provides the mechanisms to support and finance the climate change response, providing guidance and a governance framework to promote planning and implementation by national, provincial and local government.

The Bill is expected to shortly become law, with the assent of the President.