Climate change White Paper to be drafted by 2010

Friday, March 6, 2009

Midrand - The National Climate Change Conference has laid the foundations for a Policy White Paper on climate change to be drafted by 2010 as part of government's response to the global phenomenon.

Speaking after the conclusion of the conference on Friday, Department of the Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk highlighted that the conference far outstripped expectations.

"The 2009 Climate Summit was a seminal event. As a milestone on the road to building a national consensus on the country's long term climate policy, the summit far exceeded our expectations.

"There could not have been a stronger expression of political will by government and other stakeholders, a deeper understanding of the compelling scientific evidence that will inform policy-making, or a greater commitment to moving forward with implementation than what we have witnessed over the past four days," said the minister.

The conference, he said, laid the foundations for a participatory process that will culminate in a Policy White Paper on climate change by 2010, and the translation of this policy into a legislative, regulatory and fiscal package by 2012.

After intensive deliberations by 700 delegates from government, business, labour and civil society, the 2009 Climate Summit concluded with strong guidance on the strategic direction for an effective climate policy as well as an ambitious work programme for policy development.

The summit was designed to be forward-looking, translating political will and the best available scientific evidence into policy and action.

"Since the first climate summit in 2005, we have made major strides by integrating climate change issues with the daily work of government, business and civil society. We have much to be proud of," said Mr Van Schalkwyk.

Important challenges and tough decisions still lie ahead said the minister, adding, however, that he was encouraged by the strong resolve to meet the dual challenges of adaptation and mitigation by placing sustainable development and poverty eradication at the forefront.

The strong consensus on making the transition to a climate resilient and low carbon economy and society will underpin government's future work, he highlighted.

The minister explained that early gains can be achieved in the fight against climate change by massively up-scaling the country's efforts in respect of energy efficiency and renewable energies.