Help us address climate change

Monday, August 22, 2011

Johannesburg - South Africa will count on the support of the business sector to enable the country to realise its plans to cut carbon emissions as part of a government response to climate change, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana -Mashabane said on Monday.

She met with CEOs from various private sector companies to update them on the South African government's position ahead of the all-important climate change summit taking place in Durban later this year.

COP 17, as the gathering is known, is expected to draw more than 20 000 participants from more than 100 countries, who will be seeking a legally-binding agreement to address global warming. The talks are also expected to signal whether nations would be able to sign on the new commitment period of the Kyoto
Protocol, a treaty that binds nations to measurable carbon emission cuts.

"We expect business to be proactive in terms of helping South Africa realise its goal of moving towards a low carbon economy... business and government can work together in this regard to determine trade-offs towards low carbon emissions technology," said Nkoana-Mashabane.

She said it was imperative that the summit in Durban does not turn into a "repetition" of the Copenhagen talks, which were criticised for failing to reach consensus on critical issues such as adaptation and mitigation.

"We want Durban to build on the agreements and inroads we have made in Cancun and for that to happen, we need all the support we can get," Nkoana-Mashabane said in reference to the climate green fund leaders agreed on in Mexico.

The business sector proposed a formation of a task team that will ensure the sector and government spoke with one voice ahead of the summit, which kicks off at Durban's International Convention Centre on 28 November.

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