SA commits to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

2009-12-09 07:29

SOUTH Africa has made an ambitious offer on greenhouse gas

emissions reduction. However, it will only be feasible if certain conditions are

met and a fair global climate pact is reached.

South Africa is prepared to voluntarily reduce its greenhouse gas

emissions to 34% of expected levels by 2020, and 45% by 2025.

This will however only happen if the necessary finances needed to

put in place climate adaptations is received from the rich nations and an

ambitious new climate agreement is reached among members of the United Nations

framework convention on global climate change, said Joanne Yawitch, deputy

director-general of the Department of Environmental Affairs.

South Africa’s commitments together with those of other fast

developing nations such as China and India is encouraging, said Connie Hedegard,

chairperson of the 15 meeting of the parties on the United Nations framework for

climate change.

South Africa said its greenhouse gas emissions will peak during

2020 and 2025, stabilise for a decade and will then be cut.

NGOs Greenpeace Africa and WWF International have reacted

positively to the announcement.

Tasneem Essop of WWF South Africa said the offer was more

substantial than that of China and India. “South Africa’s timeline for emission

reductions gives certainty on what sort of commitment the country will


At this stage of discussions the announcement shows strong

leadership for other developing and developed countries, Essop added.

Fast developing countries are bringing a lot to the negotiations

table, said Tove Maria Ryding of Greenpeace in Denmark.

India last week announced voluntary measures to reduce the

carbondioxide intensity of its economy (20% to 25% of 2005 levels). China’s

offer is to reduce its carbondioxide intensity with 40% to 45% (compared with

2005 levels).

According to the Kyoto Protocol, developing nations like South

Africa and China do not have to, at this stage, comply with legally binding

targets on greenhouse gases. These countries are however prepared to do their

part in curbing greenhouse gases, based on their national developing


But the giant share of emission curbs and climate related

adaptations must come from rich nations.

South Africa, one of the fastest growing developing countries, has

a huge carbon footprint.

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