Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy says the Glasgow climate conference outcome on helping developing countries like South Africa accelerate the phase down of unfiltered coal to low-carbon energy should be done in a manner that takes into consideration national interests and availability of resources.

The Minister said this when she briefed the media on the outcomes of the recently concluded Glasgow Climate Conference (COP26).

The final text of the cover agreement at the end of the two-week COP26 negotiations with regards to the issue of coal contains wording that talks about the phase down of coal.

“There is also wording there that talks about the recognition of national circumstances and the importance of a just transition.

“And I think that what that language is all about … is saying that for developing countries, there is a recognition of the enormous cost that transitioning economies to lower carbon growth paths and to climate resilient societies is going to have.

“I think that there is been an estimation by the OECD [Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] that developing countries will require in the region of US$4 trillion over the next 15 years to achieve these transitions.

“And I think that text was really about saying that countries must be transitioning. Like our country, we have to do our fair share. But we have to be transitioning at a manner and at a pace that is determined by our national sovereign interests and by the availability of resources.

“We can’t be signing up to a situation that we are not ensuring that we have adequate financial support for the transitions that will be taking place,” she said.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that South Africa has secured a historic partnership with leaders of the world of a R131 billion highly concessional climate financing to help SA transition from coal to low-carbon energy.

Briefing the media on Wednesday, Creecy said the international community has united behind a shared objective to inject a greater sense of urgency to address the global climate crisis and to do so on the basis of international equity and latest available science.

She said the concluded Paris Agreement Work Programme will assist Parties to fully implement the Paris Agreement, in the context of a Just Transition and Sustainable Development, leaving no one behind.

The complex Glasgow package outcome strikes the right balance to accommodate the very different national circumstances and capacities among nearly 200 Parties, so that all are enabled and empowered to contribute their fair share and to enhance their climate ambition.

“COP26 sets the international community on the right track to addressing the existential challenge of climate change. For the first time the Governing Bodies of the Convention and Paris Agreement have agreed to the importance of supporting developing countries in financing Just Transition elements of their climate actions, and to support the implementation of Just Transitions that promote sustainable development and the eradication of poverty, the creation of decent work and quality jobs,” she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency