SA committed to decarbonising economy to combat climate change

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has affirmed South Africa’s commitment to decarbonising those economic sectors that are currently reliant on fossil fuel for energy in an effort to mitigate against the impact of climate change.

“We have private enterprises, research institutions and ports in our country, that are hard at work in a quest to develop low or zero carbon fuels like green hydrogen and ammonia, green technologies for ships and port infrastructure,” Mbalula said on Wednesday in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Addressing delegates at the World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE), the Minister emphasised that decarbonising should be done on the basis that there is just transition, which considers the socio-economic factors of the country and her people.

This year’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event is taking place under the theme: “New technologies for greener shipping,” which calls for the global family of nations to take action on decarbonisation of shipping and ports through the use of zero or low carbon technologies, fuels and infrastructure.

The ultimate goal is to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission across the globe for sustainable development

Shipping contributes less than 3% of global emissions. However, if there are no mitigation measures taken, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships is projected to increase to 250% by 2050 because of future demand of cargo that will be carried by international ships.

“We believe that the abundance of renewable energy potential can accelerate the development of greener technologies and alternative fuels in order to meet the demand of supplying bunker to ships at our ports.

“To meet these demands, South Africa will have to accelerate her investments on research and innovation for the development of alternative fuels, technology and infrastructure,” Mbalula said.

The Minister said as countries embark on the development of the regulatory framework for the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships, greener technology becomes central in providing new solutions and opportunities for the improvement of energy and technical efficiencies for sustainable shipping.

“To be able to decarbonise shipping as envisaged in the greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy, the spirit of co-operation among all stakeholders must be a golden thread that enables us to remove barriers that may impede investments and transfer of greener technologies while ensuring that no one is left behind,” he said.

The maritime event is an opportunity for the international community to make concrete contributions and collaborate on innovative and mitigation strategies geared towards addressing the impact of maritime transport on climate change.

Taking advantage of opportunities in maritime sector

The Minister said South Africa is resolute in its efforts to grow a seafaring nation where young men and women are able to take advantage of the country’s vast maritime resources for their livelihoods and careers.

“Seafaring is an international occupation and seafarers produced by South Africa are able to work on international shipping and they are highly sought after.

“Producing seafarers for international employment will no doubt contribute in the reduction of youth unemployment in our country,” the Minister said.

Mbalula said coastal shipping occupies the centre stage of South Africa’s developmental efforts, not only to aggressively enhance the oceans economy, but also to create jobs.

“This will be realised by creating a captive market for South Africans where regulation will determine what categories of cargo should only be moved by sea. Our national policy recognises that South Africa’s economy is intrinsically linked with other regional and continental economies.

“Thus, South Africa will leverage on regional and continental enabling structures and instruments to implement progressive initiatives particularly coastal shipping as an important enabler in unlocking the potential of the oceans to the region,” the Minister said. –