Busa calls for a balanced outcome at Copenhagen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pretoria - Ahead of the United Nations climate change negotiations taking place in Copenhagen later this year, the business sector says the talks should strive for a "balanced outcome."

According to Business Unity South Africa (Busa), a successful agreement needed to be built on the principle that climate change was a fundamental issue and would have a major impact on society, especially in the developing countries.

"Greater recognition should be given to the positive role that business could play in creating a new agreement that was sustainable and more successful than the Kyoto Protocol," Busa said on Tuesday.

A balanced agreement, the organisation said, should contain recognition of the developmental challenges still facing developing countries, while at the same time address business commitments to a low carbon growth path without being prescriptive, but still supportive of the adaptation initiative.

It also said it needed to take into account that action was required urgently at a global level and that business as usual was not an option for any country.

Busa further said that climate change had to be solved in an integrated manner with other key issues in society such as: economic development to alleviate poverty; energy security; and affordable access to energy, job creation as well as protection of biodiversity.

"All sectors of society and Government have a role to play in moving to a low carbon economy," said Busa, adding that a mix of policy instruments would also be required.

It said the talks has to be a fair balance between what historical large emitters should do and what emerging emitters like South Africa should be expected to do.

On the basis of these, Busa believed that there were key issues for a successful outcome that would enhance the role of South African business in achieving international climate change objectives while at the same time achieving economic growth, job creation and alleviation of poverty.

These included the level of mitigation effort appropriate for South Africa and adaptation.

It proposed that the conference needed to consider establishing new sectoral carbon trading systems for economically advanced developing countries to access finance and cost effective emission reduction strategies in key sectors.

Busa said that national studies have already shown that South Africa will face significant challenges as a result of climate change in the areas of agriculture, biodoversity, health and water supply. "International support for adaptation will be essential for a successful deal."