South Africa Paris Climate Agreement

The IRP2019 aims to close more than 35 GW (out of 42 GW currently) of the coal-fired power plant`s capacity by 2050. To be consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, South Africa should take more ambitious action on climate change beyond IRP2019, such as strengthening renewable energy capacity by 2030 and beyond, halting the planned commissioning of 1.5 GW of new coal capacity, phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2040 at the latest, and eliminating investments in natural gas. Before the Paris conference, 189 countries – including every African country – presented a national climate plan, known as the national contribution, which defines what they will do to combat climate change and what they will do when there is funding. In Paris, countries agreed to present updated plans every five years detailing ongoing activities and efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Each plan is expected to be more ambitious than the previous one. Polls show that 45% of South Africans see climate change as a very serious problem, at the heart of the world`s major economies. It requires the government, within two years of the demo law, to “create a national framework for sustainable development” in order to achieve the objectives of the law. It also requires the creation of a ministerial committee on climate change, to coordinate action to combat climate change, and a committee on climate change for each province. However, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an independent scientific analysis by three research organizations that follow reflection actions, believes that the South African NDC is “extremely inadequate”. This means that their promise is outside of a “fair share” of the emissions reductions needed to meet the Paris Agreement targets and is “not at all” in line with limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to CAT, if all governments had similar targets, the increase in global temperature would likely reach 3-4C by 2100. The effects of climate change have been highlighted by the recent severe drought in the Cape Region and the lingering threat of “Day Zero” when the city`s taps are dry and residents have to queue for water.

The bill recognizes that man-made climate change “poses an urgent threat to human society” and sets targets for reducing emissions and the need to adapt to the effects of climate change. South Africa`s Environment Minister is a member of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), with which the European Commission conducts a separate and regular dialogue on climate change. Five meetings were held in 2013-15.

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