Molewa upbeat about SA's climate talks

Friday, April 1, 2011

Johannesburg - This year's climate change conference in South Africa should lead to a successful international agreement that will allow for a united global response against global warming, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Friday. 

"Our journey to Durban must facilitate a route that provides platforms for the voice of humanity to be heard in COP 17 where our negotiating mandate must strive for the world we want to live in," she said. 

Molewa addressed a stakeholder summit, hosted by her department, as part of a build up to the Climate Change conference to be held in Durban later this year. The event is billed to be one of the biggest global meetings on climate change and is expected to attract delegates from 185 countries. 

The minister told delegates on Friday that for the Durban climate talks to succeed, government and civil society needed to coordinate their activities and work as "team South Africa". Global warming is said to be the greatest challenge presently facing humankind, with scientist warning that rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns were expected to lead to severe devastation if something was not done. 

South Africa had said in the past that it will take "nationally appropriate" mitigation action on climate change and the extent to which this would be done depended on the provision of financial resources, the transfer of technology and support by developed countries. 

In 2008, Cabinet agreed on a response development programme, which led to the national climate change response policy. According to the policy, experts and authorities expect South Africa's carbon emissions to pick up at a rate of about 34 and 42 percent by 2020 and 2025 respectively, and these were expected to begin to decline in absolute terms by 2036. 

Molewa said formal negotiations leading to the conference will begin in June when South Africa and its negotiating partners, that include the Group of 77 developing countries, were expected to outline their plans. 

"A second aspect of our preparations is how South Africa can showcase some concrete actions highlighting successes and challenges it faced in responding to climate change," she added. 

South Africa will also host a climate response expo at a venue close to the summit in December in a bid to increase awareness and to showcase sectoral climate actions and innovations. 

Different government departments will also be expected to strategies on how they were helping South Africa meets its adaptation and mitigation obligations. - BuaNews 

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