SA committed to greenhouse gas reduction - Sonjica

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Johannesburg - Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said South Africa is committed to reducing its emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), but for the country to achieve this, it would require extensive international financial and technical support.

She said this on Tuesday as Africa prepares to take part in the next round of negotiations on climate change to take place in Copenhagen on 15 December.

The African Union has agreed to send a single delegation of 10 countries to represent Africa in the conference, but Sonjica said while this was the case South Africa will pursue its right to have its interest protected during the conference.

"South Africa is committed in doing its fair share to ensure that the December climate change talks produce a deal that will be favorable to develop and developing countries.

Sonjica said South Africa was aware of its contribution to the Global GHG. She attributed this to the country's heavy reliance on coal powered electricity.

"However, we are committed to taking responsible action to reduce our emissions. Over the long term, we will redefine our competitive advantage and structurally transform the economy from an energy intensive to a climate friendly one," the minister said.

Sonjica said that as African countries go to the conference, it should be remembered that the continent needs between $200 and $400 million to fund its adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The minister has called on major economies such as the United States to make bold commitments in their efforts to reduce the emission of GHG.

Economies including the major ones must be transformed to enable sustainable, low emission growth and development and at the same time allowing economies and developing nations to adapt to climate change.