Cosatu: Rich nations must pay
Johannesburg - Developed nations have to pay for damage to the environment as part of a just transition to low carbon economies, Cosatu said on Saturday.
"While we accept that developing countries, including South Africa, have to play their part in reducing emissions, developed countries must carry a larger part of the burden," Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.
He said "just transition" meant changes that did not disadvantage the working class worldwide and developing countries, and where the industrialised countries paid for the damage their development had done to the earth’s atmosphere.
Developed countries who had less than 20% of the world's population and had emitted almost three quarters of all historic greenhouse gas emissions must pay for their climate debt.
Craven said one of the constraints on South Africa and other developing countries was a deficit of technology and skills to both reduce emissions and to adapt to a new climate changed reality.
"We must make sure that technology and skills transfers are effected without being fettered by the obligation to pay for intellectual property rights," he said.
"A just transition addresses both the unemployment crisis and the ecological crisis. The evidence suggests that the transition to a low-carbon economy will potentially create more jobs than it will lose."
The union said that it recognised that the fundamental cause of the climate crisis was the "expansionist logic of the capitalist system," which created massive waste.
It would therefore reject any form of capital accumulation "even if those forms of capitalist accumulation are green", said Craven.