KZN takes on climate change

2012-09-20 00:00

THE war on climate change in KwaZulu-Natal was declared yesterday with the creation of the KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change and Sustainable Development Council.

“The purpose of the council is to coordinate policy issues and create climate and environmental policy positions,” said KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize speaking at the inaugural meeting of the council held in Pietermaritzburg’s city hall yesterday.

“It is important to balance the issue of development with the issue of the environment.”

The council membership includes members of provincial government and municipal officials as well as representatives from business, industry and the trade unions. Other sectors of civil society were represented by a variety of NGOs and traditional and religious leaders. Mkhize described the role the council as “essentially advisory” to these groups.

MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu presented the vision and purpose of the body as contained in the terms of reference for the council but, following debate, it was agreed that these terms be finalised only following input from the various organisations present.

Three working groups were announced to deal with policy and regulations, adaptation and mitigation, and renewable energy.

It is likely another working group will be created to handle sustainable development.

Mkhize said climate change is one of the most serious threats to sustainable development “with adverse impacts expected on the environment, human health, food security, economic activities, natural resources and physical activities”.

“Climate change is already happening, and will continue to happen even if global greenhouse gas emissions are curtailed significantly in the short to medium term,” he said.

• feature1@witness.co.za

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