Climate change targets must reflect developmental needs

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cape Town - Government says it is committed to setting climate change targets for as long as they take South Africa's developmental needs into account.

"Cabinet would like to correct the wrong impression that had been created that South Africa was opposed to targets being set on global warming," Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko said after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He said that in fact, South Africa's position was that it will only support targets to reduce carbon emissions if such targets take the developmental needs of the country into account.

"South Africa was not in favour of supporting targets that are imposed by developed nations on developing nations to reduce carbon emissions. We are committed to setting targets that will take our developmental needs into account," said Maseko.

He said as it was stated before South Africa would take responsible and measurable action to reduce its emissions over time.

"We support the need for a comprehensive international programme on adaptation that is able to deliver the necessary resources to enable all developing countries to adapt, recognising the particular needs of the poorest and most vulnerable.

"It must be noted that developing nations will require resources if they were to participate effectively in such a programme," Maseko said.

He pointed out that Cabinet had already approved an energy policy and the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) saying the move took into account the potential opportunities presented by science in pursuance of a low carbon and green future.

"South Africa's strategic framework is based on the fact that our emissions are to peak between 2020 and 2025, stabilise for a decade, before declining in absolute terms towards the mid-century," he said.

He added that developed nations should be able to cut their emissions must faster than developing nations.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma called for inclusiveness in the global agreement on climate change saying the deliberations should be guided by a shared vision and fairness.

Zuma will be among the Heads of State who will gather in Copenhagen in December for the United Nations climate change summit.

South Africa's position is that of a balance between adaptation and mitigation.