National Climate Change Response Policy Green Paper 2010: Public Hearings Day 3

Water and Sanitation

08 March 2011
Chairperson: Mr. J. De Lange (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee continued with public hearings on the National Climate Change Response Policy Green Paper.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) said that the debate on climate change was not neutral and the formulation of policy would require significant engagement between contesting parties. NUMSA’s critique of the Green Paper revolved around the fact that the environmental debate had moved beyond the boundaries of conservation, and it felt that it was lacking in ideological and political content, and that climate change reduction would not be possible within a capitalist framework. A new global energy system must be found and created, as fossil fuels could no longer remain engines of economic development. Sustainable development and environmental justice must be followed. Affordability was important. Food security problems could not be solved by adaptation strategies alone. A shift to a green economy, and creation of green jobs, would require substantial input from a number of interested parties, and both the State and private sector would need to invest in renewable energy, technology and skills. Government must strengthen capacity and increase investment in renewable sources of energy, lessen dependency on coal and promote public debate. Members noted the effects that transition to low carbon economy would have on labour but noted that if the transition was correctly managed it did not have to result in job losses. NUMSA was asked to detail what the long term declines would meal, and how NUMSA recommended that emissions must be reduced, asked about the reservations around nuclear energy, and noted that changes must still take place within a capitalist environment. They asked what NUMSA was doing to effect change, what its stance was on the Kyoto Protocol and asked that it should submit further information to the Committee before June.   

The South African Municipal Workers Union
SAMWU said with the tackling of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) was not merely a technological problem, but that current patterns of production and consumption must change. Greening the economy should receive prime focus, to create a different kind of low carbon society, and any policy should be aligned with the New Growth Path. More emphasis was needed on a common approach to humanity, targeting of specific reductions and support for international Green Tax and creation of a global Climate Change Fund. Corrupt and inefficient local government must change as this was a critical sphere for climate change, and the South African Local Government Association had to be reformed, whilst more emphasis was needed on built environment issues, mitigation in the transport, architecture and building sectors. The Green Paper was not clear enough on water issues, particularly for the rural and poor, nor on energy saving, and did not give a consolidated role to local government.  SAMWU did not support nuclear energy, because of its lead time and cost, and unresolved safety issues. It urged re-establishment of local government housing construction units, with training in adaptation and mitigation design. Members agreed with many of the points, asked what role SAMWU played in assisting local government, thought that the fiscus needed to be better integrated, and that local government should be included in climate change and that legislation must take environmental issues into account.

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) suggested that the
White Paper should contain a clear process to develop a national mitigation plan, including measurement and verification, as well as a process for development of an adaptation plan. There should also be a clear allocation of responsibilities to departments, identification of resources required, an understanding of constraints and impacts and mechanisms to implement in each sector. All sectors must develop mitigation actions, supported by funding, technology and capacity building. Members indicated that they were surprised by the contribution by BUSA, which had not previously cited any weaknesses with the Green Paper, nor indicated how it could be improved. Members noted that BUSA had mentioned nothing on adaptation, and that business seemed to be lagging behind on the Copenhagen commitments. BUSA clarified that renewable energy was important, but stressed that a regulatory environment and tangible actions were needed, and that South Africa must ensure that its competitors did not prejudice it. BUSA was asked, within a week, to provide clear responses on the areas that it thought were lacking, and urged it to participate in New Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) processes.

AgriSA felt that the Green Paper was quite clear and comprehensive, but would like to see greater focus on the agricultural sector. It stressed that although greenhouse gases were emitted in the agricultural process, this was linked to natural biological cycles for which farmers should not be held responsible. Agriculture could not compete with other sectors in terms of cost efficiency in reductions, although it did have the potential to mitigate.
The agricultural sector was adversely affected by the effects of climate change, yet also had a huge potential to provide solutions. For this reason, AgriSA called for a substantial increase in investment and support to agriculture, prioritisation of the sector, both nationally and internationally, to increase its resilience and boost economic growth, and for recognition of the sector’s needs in all future agreements. A crop insurance guarantee fund would be useful. Farmers should be incentivised to implement conservation agriculture and should also be funded to assist them to adapt to climate change. Good governance, through strong and transparent public institutions, was needed. Members asked whether it would be appropriate to look at the regional dynamic, particularly in relation to water scarcity, what regulations were needed and what research still needed to be done. They asked for more clarity on Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices, and the relevance of renewable energy to farming.   

recommended that agricultural research, development, trade and financial resources must be directed towards ecological farming practices. Alignment was needed between the National Climate Change Response Policy, the Integrated Resource Plan and the Integrated Energy Plan. Timelines and targets must be included in the plans. A low carbon development plan, with clear timelines and targets, should be developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, and support for adaptation of carbon intensive industry, effective and binding targets for demand side-management, energy efficiency and renewable energy implementation were needed. Greenpeace felt that Carbon Capture and Sequestration options and the nuclear option should be excluded. Renewable energy was a key cornerstone of industry, leading to job creation and economic development. The policy needed to be more detailed and ambitious.
Monitoring, evaluation and review protocols needed to be strengthened and these must include independent sectoral benchmarking targets. Members asked for clarity on the role of Greenpeace, agreed with the need for alignment, and said that the Department of Environmental Affairs would be asked to insert specific targets.

Engen noted that South Africa had a responsibility towards climate change, but stressed that this must be seen within the context of multilateral efforts and responsibilities across the world. Until other countries had made firm commitments, it suggested that it would be premature for South Africa to do so, as adoption of stringent targets might lead to South Africa being prejudiced against its competitors. It urged that the government should await the outcome of the Conference of Parties processes before making decisions, as South Africa did not have to take a leadership role. Members expressed dismay at this, and felt that it was unacceptable for South Africa not to continue along its leadership path, or to wait for international consensus from countries who were not prepared to abide by the Kyoto Protocol. They
urged Engen to revisit its stance and indicate how it could assist in climate change.

Environmental Management Group (
EMG) said that agriculture and land-use was a major greenhouse gas contributor, and any climate change policy must therefore ensure more support for low-impact agricultural practices, appropriate extension services and the revival of Land Care programmes. The policy should also focus on production for food security rather than for export. Water issues were also very important. The EMG suggested that Parliament must assess whether the policy was making a significant difference, as this was not mentioned in the Green Paper. It urged that all processes, including transition, must involve multiple stakeholders. Any carbon taxes must be offset with appropriate subsidies, to ensure that the poor did not suffer unduly. Greater political will was needed for renewable energy research and development, greater investment in efficient public transport, greater promotion of efficient electricity usage, and removal of conflicts of interest. Strong institutions and infrastructure were needed, as well as robust service delivery and public participation. Members agreed that good points were raised, and more thought was needed on the Response policy, including models for the executive and legislature.

Meeting report

National Climate Change Response Policy Green Paper 2010: Public Hearings Day 3
National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Submission
Mr Woody Aroun, Parliamentary Officer, NUMSA, submitted that the debate on climate change was not neutral and the formulation of policy needed serious engagement amongst contesting parties. NUMSA agreed on the need to reduce greenhouse emissions and to work towards creating a cleaner, healthier environment and, in tandem with this, the need to manage the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, to create green jobs, to facilitate access to land, and to work towards water, agriculture and food security.

NUMSA’s critique of the
National Climate Change Response Policy Green Paper 2010 (the Green Paper) revolved around the fact that the environmental debate had moved beyond the boundaries of conservation. The Green Paper lacked the form of ideological and political content that the General Secretary of NUMSA once referred to when he addressed a climate change conference under the theme “Cutting Emissions, Transforming Jobs” in Bad Orb, Germany (14-15 October 2009). In that address it was argued that global capitalism and climate change were closely linked.

NUMSA believed that a new global energy system must be found and created. All evidence was pointing to the fact that the capitalist system had reached a dead end, as not only had capitalism experienced its most serious crisis since the 1930s, but there were clear signs how catastrophic it would be to continue along the path in which fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and natural gas) remained engines of economic development. There were two powerful approaches that could be utilised towards the creation of a new energy order: sustainable development and environmental justice. The Green Paper had simply focused on sustainable development, without a perspective of redefining relations between humans and nature, and this was misleading. In addition, any approach that sidelined environmental justice could unleash a number of negative consequences and impede social and economic development

With regard to water, agriculture and human health, access to basic services was one thing but affordability was another. Climate change adaptation strategies on their own would not solve food problems. In order that the
Green Paper could make any significant impact in protecting and sustaining natural resources such as water, and safeguarding food supply and agriculture in South Africa, a whole range of issues other than climate change alone would have to be addressed

Several references were made in the Green Paper to a shift to a green economy and the creation of green jobs to complement the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. NUMSA recognised that this transition was not going to be easy and would require input from a number of interested parties, civil society in general and labour in particular. The role of the State was central to this transition and required an ecological focus on all forms of economic activity. Huge investments in renewable energy, technology and skills could not be left in the hands of the private sector. There were huge opportunities for the State to make meaningful interventions to reduce the carbon footprint and boost the manufacturing potential (green jobs), transform the transport sector and initiate strategies that would enhance and protect food supply.

NUMSA recommended that the South African government must strengthen its capacity and increase investments in friendly and renewable sources of energy like solar, water and wind powered energy, must lessen its dependency on coal, encourage and promote more public debate on issues related to climate change and global warming and popularise these debates on national television, the radio and through the use of print media.
NUMSA called on government to initiate a process with all outside stakeholders (including social movements, trade unions and non government organisations (NGOs) and relevant government departments to develop policies on climate change that were mutually compatible and consistent with the developmental goals of the country, that were sustainable and, above all, capable of protecting the earth and its resources from pillaging corporations and ruthless investors.


Mr J Skosana (ANC) said that since NUMSA had realised that there were challenges on climate change, it should be  encouraged them to work very closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

Mr G Morgan (DA) said that the presentation alerted him to the effects that a transition to a low carbon economy would have on labour. The change did not have to result in job loss if the transition was managed correctly. He asked NUMSA to talk about what peak plateau and decline would, in the long term, mean labour, especially since there would be a reduction in coal mining. As mineworkers worked in a sector that had a high impact on the environment, he asked whether NUMSA had any idea on the mitigation of emissions in this industry. NUMSA had also reminded him that care needed to be taken about the way that South Africa changed its economy.

Mr Aroun replied that with regard to peak plateau and decline, he had noted, when visiting mines in Chile and Bolivia, that Mine Closure Management (MCM) was only a contingent measure. South Africa would have to think about this issue seriously and structure it around the move to renewable energy. He said that NUMSA was the appropriate union to look at mine closure.

The Chairperson agreed that this issue must be addressed seriously.

Mr Aroun said that NUMSA accepted and recognised that would need to be improvements in MCM.

Mr S Tsenoli (ANC), Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, asked NUMSA to spell out its reservations around nuclear energy. He also asked Mr Aroun to spell out in concrete terms the areas of labour to which he was referring.

Mr Aroun replied that the nuclear issue called for much more discussion and engagement.

The Chairperson said that the NUMSA submission was an important input, premised on the basis that it would be impossible to address climate change in a “rabidly capitalist” system. However, the reality was that this must be started within a capitalist environment, and that profit considerations were still important. He asked NUMSA if it could suggest any solutions.

Mr P Mathebe (ANC) fully agreed that it was difficult to deal with the issues of climate change without challenging global capitalism. He asked what NUMSA was doing in its own constituency to educate members. He asked whether it was talking to constituents about adaptation strategies.

Ms H Ndude (COPE) said that NUMSA seemed very serious about the issue of climate change, but the question remained what it was doing. NUMSA had the power, as a trade union, to effect change. She asked how NUMSA might be using that power, especially in galvanising global union action to pressurise countries like the United States, Japan and Russia to commit to climate change action.

Mr Aroun replied that there were several parallel processes on the issue in the New Economic, Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) had commissioned a study on the issue. Climate change awareness would be seen more frequently on trade unions’ agendas. Unions had been represented through COSATU at the Conference of Parties (COP 17). There was a broad level of interaction between unions in South Africa and international union organisations, as well as civil society organisations that had done a lot more work on the issue. In the next few months there would be much more consolidation.

Dr S Kalyan (DA) said that her understanding of the Green Paper was that it was a broad document that covered various aspects. NUMSA said that the Green Paper lacked political content. However, she pointed out that the Green Paper should be broad and apolitical. She asked what NUMSA’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol was.

Mr Aroun replied that the Green Paper could not just be technical. NUMSA did not believe there could be “neutral policy”. Policy was contested wherever NUMSA had a problem with it. Policy was informed by political ideology.

The Chairperson said that the main point NUMSA had made was that it did not know how climate change could be dealt with in a capitalist system, and that that was a political issue. He said that NUMSA had been very honest with the Committee. This was why the White Paper would be important, if South Africa was serious about moving away from a coal-based system, as the consequences of doing so must be understood. If NUMSA had any more information to circulate to the Committee it would be most welcome.

Mr Aroun said that there were parallel processes in place, and there was a task team set up in NEDLAC.

The Chairperson said that the White Paper should be completed by 5 June. If there was any work done on the matter before then, the Committee would appreciate it, even if the work was not complete.

South African Municipal Worker’s Union (SAMWU) Submission
Mr John Mawbey, Head of Department: Organising and Development, SAMWU, tabled the submission. He said that, with regard to economic development path issues,
tackling Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions was not just a technological problem. It required a fundamental economic and social transformation, in order to substantially change current patterns of production and consumption. Greening the economy must not be reduced to some subset of industrial strategy about renewable energy manufacturing. Instead, there should be an overarching thrust to create a different kind of low carbon society - an “ecological economy”. The policy document needed to integrate itself with Government’s economic growth path.

SAMWU believed that when
applying the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities” to negotiation, far more emphasis should be placed on countries’ common responsibility to humanity. The Green Paper should be mapping out a clear carbon-budget based approach targeting specific reduction of emissions and should be supporting an international Green Tax on flows of capital to create a Global Climate Change Fund.

current corrupt and inefficient state of local government must be overcome. This was a critical sphere when dealing with climate change. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) needed to be reformed. This included issues of the future of provinces and districts, and SAMWU believed that the former should be reduced to administrative structures. The Green Paper was weak around Built Environment issues in towns and cities, as it failed to identify housing and related infrastructure as critical adaptation technology. SAMWU felt that there must be mitigation, in the sense of spatial planning for shorter transport routes, architectural energy efficiency and better building standards. Water issues included water stress and sharing, industrial and agricultural water efficiency, Free Basic Water (FBW) and stepped tariffs, yet nothing concrete was stated. The Green Paper was not clear enough on micro water-capture technologies for the rural and poor and had too much focus on macro water-transfer schemes.

SAMWU believed that in the energy field, saving would play a crucial role, including solar heating extension and street lighting. The Green Paper did not deal with new notions of a more flexible and decentralised electricity grid in which local governments became champions of renewable energy, supported by State grants. SAMWU did not support nuclear energy, because of the lead time and cost, and the unresolved safety issues.

SAMWU further submitted that in terms of employment creation, there was a need to re-establish local government housing construction units, with training in adaptation and mitigation design. There should be moves beyond the Working for Water, Working for Fire and Working for Wetlands Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) models, to permanent employment of adaptation workforces.


Mr L Greyling (ID) noted the point that there was a difference between a green economy and a green society. The focus seemed to be on the economy, and making money. In local government it seemed that there was a wrong incentive structure, which thus needed to be changed.

Mr Skosana needed clarity on the technological revolution strategy. He asked what role SAMWU had played in assisting local government in climate change. He also asked what role SAMWU played in ensuring that houses were built in the correct areas.

Mr Mawbey said that in principle he did not believe that cross-subsidisation was a bad thing but the question was whether it was transparent. There was far more that needed to be investigated. Local governments should not have to use electricity supply as revenue, because it was a service that should be in the local government sphere. The same applied to renewable energy. He was cynical about Eskom’s ability to set up alternative energy projects, as Eskom was dominated by a coal mindset. 

Mr Tsenoli said that it became clear after the Haiti earthquakes that it was not the earthquakes that had been the direct cause of deaths, but the buildings. He agreed with the view that society as a whole needed to be greened. He thought that local government should not be relying on incentives, but the issue was rather how the fiscus should be integrated to achieve goals. This was where the roles of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and SALGA were important.

The Chairperson said that mandates of local government were concerned with concurrent powers. Local government was not currently part of the climate change picture, but this needed further investigation.  Coastal regions displayed a whole range of matters impacting at the local government level. The extent to which local government roles needed to be clarified would require input from local governments themselves. The public hearings had also identified the dichotomy between the obligations of a developmental state and what the realities of climate change dictated.

Mr Tsenoli pointed out that local government was saying that it was over-regulated. The point that had been made about regulations was linked to the fact that responsibility did not come with the necessary funding. There was a need to see where government had been at fault in the current situation. He cited that housing regulations often did not speak to or take environmental issues into account.

Mr Mawbey said that he had used the term “technological revolution” as a comparison to the Industrial Revolution. There was now a need to replace old forms of technology with renewable energy technology and reduce the carbon footprint. Green standards should be incorporated in housing designs and there should also be retro-fitting. He added that there was another issue as to whether legislation was actually being implemented. It was SAMWU’s view that the local and national spheres of government were the most important spheres. The provincial sphere complicated matters. Local governments actually dealt with issues on the ground.  The Green Paper failed to apportion responsibility, and there was no consolidated role for local government.

In terms of the transition, it was crucial to follow up the comment in the Green Paper around the need to do an assessment of alternative jobs available to those who left carbon intensive sectors. Mr Mawbey added that SAMWU felt that climate change was an issue of total economic transformation. The starting point for the Union had been basic service delivery, because the poorer were getting poorer and the rich were getting richer. If this was not dealt with, then the government would not be able to deal with climate change. There had to be a shift in class relations.

The Chairperson said that if the role of local government could be more clearly spelt out, then a checklist could be drawn. There did seem to be a huge amount of work to be done. The existence of the three spheres of government must be accepted, and ways must be found to deal with them. The national government was allowed to “trump” the provincial governments in order to allow for uniformity in the case of a clash. If there were environmental issues that needed to be within the local government sphere, then these could be specified. Local government did play a big role in renewable energy elsewhere in the world.

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) Submission
Dr Laurraine Lotter, Executive Director, BUSA, said that the forthcoming White Paper should
contain a clear process to develop a national mitigation plan, including measurement and verification, a clear process to develop an adaptation plan, and a clear allocation of responsibilities to departments. The resources required would have to be identified and there should also be a clear understanding of constraints and impacts, and mechanisms to implement conditionality of commitment.

BUSA felt that the mitigation plan needed to take full account of the implications of the
Copenhagen commitment, understand the national emissions profile, identify mitigation actions and recognise the nature of the Long Term Mitigation Strategy (LTMS). The Copenhagen Commitment was a deviation from a “business as usual” trajectory, conditional on financing, technology and capacity building and based on the LTMS, adjusted for Integrated Resource Planning (IRP1). Taking the Copenhagen Commitment as a starting point, government needed to determine how to move on from a “business as usual” trajectory, and in what way, with a full understanding of the national emissions profile. Mitigation must be developed in response to that national emissions profile, and there was a need to identify constraints, costs and impacts of actions in order to develop approaches to minimise negative trends.

BUSA outlined what it saw as the challenges to mitigation. In relation to industry emissions, this would include the h
igh cost of technology to capture from processes and dispose as waste, the fact that CO2  was released during processes with carbon containing raw material, and that there was currently no viable technology to capture use of waste gas or heat to generate electricity, which could reduce the demand on fossil fuel electricity.

BUSA suggested that in moving forward, there was a need for cooperative work, to
develop a set of nationally appropriate mitigatory actions. This would require coordination of funding requirements, technology requirements, capacity building requirements and a clear understanding of emissions. BUSA was working with DEA to improve its understanding on current categories and to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the industrial process sector. BUSA was also working with the Department of Energy (DOE) around energy efficiency and non-Eskom generation. It was necessary to develop trajectory bands, to allocate emission reduction goals to each emitting sector, to review on the basis of technical constraints and negative impacts, and to develop mechanisms to implement. All of this should be incorporated in the White Paper. All processes must be undertaken in consultation with emitters.

Mr Greyling was interested in what BUSA thought was feasible. He said that the voluntary accord with business on energy efficiency was not reaching its targets and that perhaps there was now a need to start looking at monetary measures.

Dr Lotter agreed that not enough had been done on energy efficiency, and that a mandatory environment was needed, with numerical sector targets. BUSA expected that funds from the private sector would flow to a global Green Fund. The problem there would lie in accessing that Fund. South African companies had already taken steps towards carbon reduction.

Mr Mathebe had expected that BUSA might have spoken about the establishment of a Green Fund.

Mr Morgan said that the Committee should interrogate the Copenhagen Commitment as a starting point. He asked BUSA to tell him how it had been working with the DEA, and to what extent there was ongoing engagement. There was a need to determine the business trajectory, as that was linked to measurements of deviation. He asked whether this could then be linked to the Copenhagen Commitment of 2010. He asked whether the figure lodged with the United Nations (UN) had been discussed with business, and whether it was achievable, and that serious work lay ahead if it was not, as mitigation fell squarely on the shoulders of business. South Africa should not commit to a figure that could not be achieved.

Dr Lotter replied that she recognised that South Africa could not step back from the Copenhagen Commitment. As far as the plateau and decline were concerned, business could achieve these goals. However, BUSA was not sure about the quantifiable 34% deviation.

Ms Ndude said that the Copenhagen Commitment had been made a while ago, and it seemed that business had lagged behind and was only doing things now. Business was the biggest contributor of emissions. She asked what had actually been achieved and how committed BUSA was, bearing in mind how slow it had been to react and the fact that it had walked away from Nedlac.

Mr Tsenoli said that COP 15, 16 and 17 were international compromises, and did not represent the best that South Africa could do on its own, without having to be cajoled. He agreed that perhaps the delay resulted from business not being compelled by law to take action, and he asked what could be done differently. He asked whether Dr Lotter’s comments really represented what business would do and asked whether she would be taken seriously when reporting back to BUSA.

Dr Lotter replied that BUSA was working with government to collect industrial emission data, company by company, in order to make projections. BUSA was also working with the International Council of Commerce and Industry. She hoped that she had demonstrated that BUSA had not been standing idly by, but had done a lot of work.

The Chairperson said that he was a bit shocked by BUSA’s input. It had not identified any weaknesses with the Green Paper process earlier, and all political parties were questioning why it had only raised issues now. BUSA had also mentioned nothing about adaptation, which was a crucial area.

Dr Lotter replied that BUSA was not suggesting that the Green Paper was of no use, but was identifying that BUSA would like to see the White Paper speaking to a clear and tangible set of actions, which the Green paper did not provide. BUSA wanted to investigate commitment at a sectoral level. She agreed that renewable energy was an important contributor to reducing GHG, but said that the first step was to have a regulatory environment to promote this. Government also needed to learn how to access international funding, as this was not being done very well. There was a commercial interest in taking carbon-cuts seriously. There was reluctance in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries to change, because it undermined competitiveness, so there must be global agreement so that South Africa did not sell itself short. There would be difficulty in developing trust and working together, and this would be investigated at BUSA. She agreed that adaptation was as important as mitigation and that it was important to have robust policies for water and agriculture.

The Chairperson said that he had not been exaggerating when he said that he was perplexed by BUSA’s input. There was a vast gap between his perception of the issues and what BUSA was sketching. This did not augur well if BUSA’s and government drives for mitigation were so far apart. He asked that BUSA must now go through the Green Paper again, paragraph by paragraph, and stipulate, within the next week, where it thought that clear actions were needed. He asked that BUSA must also return to Nedlac and speed up the process, and take up any misperceptions there.   

Agriculture South Africa (AgriSA) Submission
Ms Annelize Crosby, Legal and Policy Advisor, AGRISA, tabled the submission of AgriSA and said that the Green Paper had been quite clear and comprehensive on agriculture. However, AgriSA would have like to see
more focus on the agricultural sector. GHG emissions (Methane CH4) in agriculture were directly linked to natural biological cycles, and farmers could not be held accountable for these emissions. The origin, monitoring and reporting of emissions from agricultural land was inherently different to those associated with fossil fuels.  Agriculture should not be penalised for natural emissions. Natural emissions were also linked to climate conditions (variable rainfall, drought, veld fires).  Agriculture could not compete with other sectors in terms of cost efficiency in reducing GHG emissions. Agriculture did have the potential to mitigate, and this potential was estimated to reach 5.5 to 6 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2030. According to the report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), agriculture’s emissions represented 13.5% of global anthropogenic GHG. Despite this, the scientific evidence seemed to indicate that the mitigation potential was much larger. 89% of this potential could be accounted for by soil carbon sequestration and 70% of the total mitigation potential could be realised in developing countries. The studies acknowledged that GHG sequestration by agriculture was a quick and cost-effective means to mitigate emissions. There were significant benefits associated with soil organic carbon storage, which would make sustainable land management a solution to the inter-related issues of poverty, resilience and sustainable development.

Ms Crosby noted that in order to optimise mitigation potential in agriculture, it was important to achieve improvements in efficiency of agricultural productivity, rather than to focus on non-absolute reductions in GHG emissions. The carbon storage potential could be enhanced by rewarding farmers for carbon sequestration, and economic incentives and voluntary carbon credit systems were needed to enable farmers to implement more Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices.  The development of a national and global evaluation system of GHG emissions from agriculture would provide comprehensive and integrated coverage and enable development of a methodology to handle these emissions. Investigation was needed to secure GHG-savings and energy supply through sustainable bio-energy and other embedded renewable energy technology. It was also necessary to ensure good governance through strong and transparent public institutions.

Agriculture needed support to adapt to the effects of climate change. Even if GHG emissions could be stabilised, climate change would continue to impact on agriculture, because climate change would increase water scarcity and animal diseases, would worsen vulnerability of ecosystems already affected by deforestation and cause more erosion, especially in coastal areas. A shift from crisis management to risk management was needed, coupled with national risk management response strategies to reduce consequences of risk. AgriSA would like to see a crop insurance guarantee fund.

An ambitious and changed financing framework would be required, to reward farmers’ positive contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. AgriSA suggested that there should be two types of finance mechanisms. The first would provide positive incentives for the implementation of climate-friendly Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices and technologies. The second would provide funding for vulnerable farmers to assist them adapt to climate change.

Ms Crosby concluded that the agricultural sector was adversely affected by the effects of climate change, but was also a sector with a huge potential to provide solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. AgriSA requested commitment to a substantial increase in investments and support for agriculture. The sector must be prioritised in international and national strategies, and a greater budget was needed to increase agriculture’s resilience to climate change, enabling it to boost economic growth. There had to be support for full integration in a binding agreement at the next COP meeting, and consideration of a possible Agricultural Sector Agreement, to take account of the specific characteristics and needs of this sector.

Ms Crosby also summarised that AgriSA called for the establishment of appropriate financial mechanisms to reward farmers for carbon sequestration, ecosystem services and permanent reductions that mitigated climate change, and to incentivise them to adopt the most sustainable practices and supply low-carbon services of energy and materials alongside food. There would be great difficulty around carbon tax in this sector. The New Growth Path (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2) should take the sector’s ability to contribute to renewable energy and biofuels into account.

Mr Greyling referred to the carbon sequestration potential of CA, asking whether this would be scientifically measured, and for further elaboration on this method.

Ms Crosby elaborated that CA referred to organic farming practices, cover cropping and crop rotation, which could drastically increase the amount of carbon stored in the ground. Government needed to take a stance on what it wanted in this regard.

Mr Morgan said that AGRISA had not mentioned to what extent there needed to be a regional dynamic towards climate change, and he wondered if this should be included in the White Paper.  The impact of climate change suggested that agriculture and certain types of crops would be more viable in certain areas. He thought that perhaps the requirements of not only South Africa but also, for example, Mozambique, should be examined, since predictions around rainfall affected other regions too. He imagined that the greatest impact of climate change in the region would be on water, and asked whether there was an ability to trap rainfall when abundant. He asked what was needed from government in terms of water regulations, and what agriculture was doing to be more water efficient. He asked what research gaps in the agriculture sector had been identified.

Ms Crosby replied that there was a lot of discussion on bio-fuels and ensuring food security. A clear policy was needed on whether South Africa wished to promote bio-fuels, and to what extent. It was also necessary to look at funding sources for bio-fuel crops. The regional dynamic of food security was very important and needed to be looked at further. A lot of South African farmers had diversified into other parts of Africa, but it was important to have clear policies on this. There was no clarity on how climate change was going to impact on food production. Areas in the west of South Africa were going to get drier, and areas in the east would be wetter, but exact details were not shown. More research was needed in order to plan. The agricultural sector was committed to water efficiency and the technology now existed to determine the exact amount of water needed for crops. A lot of research work needed be done and funding should come from both the private sector and government. In particular, more research was needed on climate change and specifically drought-resistant crops.

The Chairperson asked whether other renewable energy sources, such as solar power, had any relevance to farming.

Ms Crosby said that there was more reliance on these, but it would take time. In Northern Cape the provincial government had taken the stance that they wanted to promote solar and wind energy, and a lot was now happening in these fields. There was great potential for renewable energy, but government needed to take the initiative and promote it, also giving clarity on policies.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Crosby for an excellent presentation.

Greenpeace Submission
Ms Melita Steele, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace, noted that South Africa was the largest CO2 emitter on the African continent and the twelfth largest emitter in the world. There was a moral responsibility to act decisively on climate change. The Green Paper was fundamental to driving this action forward. South Africa’s response to climate change needed to be strong, ambitious, detailed and had to drive the significant uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It must be the cornerstone of a coordinated, coherent, efficient and effective response to climate change, and other plans (like the IRP) must be adjusted to fit in with the Green Paper.

The Green Paper fell short on some issues. There was a lack of detail in the
introductory sections on how to deal with the key issues, and no concrete targets and timelines were set, which would make it difficult to achieve alignment with other policies, legislation and regulation. There was a question of why the long term goal for limitation of global temperature increase was set at 2ºC whilst the African position was that 1.5ºC was more appropriate.  Other issues related to making fair contribution to the global effort, or adopting a leadership role. There was no reference to the massive or ambitious uptake of renewable energy. Greenpeace felt that there should be actual numbers or targets for deviation from a “business as usual” plan. Carbon intensive industries must be supported to adapt, rather than being given special treatment.

With regard to policy approaches and actions, Greenpeace noted that agriculture was a significant contributor to GHG emissions, and much more emphasis was needed on ecological farming. A key mitigation sector was energy. The Green Paper discussed nuclear energy as a definite choice, but Greenpeace said that nuclear energy was a dangerous waste of time, undermined climate protection and diverted money away from renewable energy. The reduction of coal use, coupled with large scale renewable energy and energy efficiency, were key elements in reducing emissions. Renewable energy could be a major creator of jobs and economic development, by creating 78 000 direct new jobs by 2030.

Greenpeace said that effective and binding targets must be set for demand side-management, energy efficiency and renewable energy implementation. It would like to see complete removal of the policy that made Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) a key component of emissions reductions. This policy was experimental, unproven and very expensive. The “review and scale up” of renewable energy must have timelines and numbers. Industry would be the key mitigation sector for new and clean coal technologies. There was a need to reassess the coal-to-liquids industry. Carbon tax was an important component of emissions reductions. It was unacceptable to continue “business as usual” in mining. Monitoring, evaluation and review protocols needed to be strengthened and these must include independent sectoral benchmarking targets. She stressed that strong leadership was required to tackle climate change to protect the planet, South Africa, and the future. The policy must be much more detailed and ambitious.

Mr Skosana said that overall the presentation was good, but there were some flaws. He asked for clarity on the role that Greenpeace was playing, and asked for its recommendations on what the Green Paper should cover. He also noted that leadership aimed to protect the country, and asked what input Greenpeace was making to leadership.

Ms Steele replied that Greenpeace was an international environmental campaigning organisation who pushed for an energy revolution, in order to change the system completely. She believed that South Africa was too carbon-reliant and energy-inefficient. Greenpeace’s role included research, lobbying and media work on direct activities.

Mr Greyling agreed that alignment was definitely needed between the IRP, IEP and Green Paper. The White Paper on Renewable Energy would also need to be aligned.

The Chairperson agreed that there were problems about alignment, but said that the White Paper would be an overarching document that included all issues and aimed to achieve synergy. He noted that the Green Paper would change as policy changed.

Ms Steele said that Greenpeace would like the Green Paper to include detailed timelines for immediate, medium-term and long-term action on identified issues. She noted the figures in relation to 2020 levels of carbon, and said that economies of scale did not always pay off for agriculture; instead there was a need to reduce chemical use and develop carbon sinks through farming. The minerals and energy complex was at the centre of the South African economy, making it a difficult component to regulate. However, in relation to mining, environmental management practices needed to be better regulated. There was a need to investigate the transition from coal. She agreed that the White Paper would be an over-arching policy, which was why Greenpeace was putting so much emphasis on it.

The Chairperson said that there were areas where specific targets were needed and the DEA would be asked to insert these, especially in relation to monitoring and evaluation.

Engen Submission
Mr Stanford Mwakasonda, Climate Change Specialist, Engen, noted that the comments in the written submission were not made by Engen as part of the industry, but rather related to general processes that were not specific to the petroleum industry. Engen’s comments recognised South Africa’s responsibilities, but also stressed that a multilateral efforts beyond South Africa’s borders were also needed. Nations other than South Africa had not yet made firm commitments and it was thus premature for South Africa to agree to unnecessarily stringent targets before multi-lateral discussions had been concluded. He urged government to wait for these processes to end first, then decide on the route to follow. South Africa, whilst recognising the importance of the issues, did not have to take a leadership role in climate change and subject itself to harsh restrictions that other countries were not following. 

The Chairperson said that he was very disappointed in Engen’s input. It was essentially telling the Committee to opt out and make sure other countries agreed, and then only to act. This was an unacceptable position. United States and Japan were pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, so suggesting that South Africa should wait for those countries to commit was saying that South Africa should do nothing. He felt that this suggestion was untenable.  

Mr Skosana agreed, saying that he too had expected far more, especially an indication of how Engen could assist in the processes.

Ms C Zikalala (IFP) said that Engen was both a business entity and a main polluter in the country, and Engen therefore had a responsibility to protect the planet in line with the Green Paper’s requirements.

Mr Mwakasonda replied that there was a difference between refinery emissions and GHG emissions. He agreed that that refineries produced emissions, but stressed that they were not GHG emissions.

Mr Greyling expressed his agreement with the Chairperson and took great exception to the suggestion that South Africa should put everything on hold before COP17. The other BRICS countries had put forth their positions, and were developing renewable energy sources. South Africa could not just sit back; it would continue to take a leadership role. The Green Paper was about building a whole new economy, and all businesses needed to look at how to overcome the challenges.

The Chairperson said that there was an obvious link between international regulations and a country’s own policies. However, internal policies could not be driven by the international sphere, as moral decisions were also needed. South Africa had decided that change was needed, although there was ongoing debate on how this would be achieved. He saw Engen’s input as money-based and said that business should see itself as an integral part of the country’s interests and obligations.

Mr Mwakasonda said that Engen was not opposed to taking reduction measures, but that his point about the international sphere was that South Africa needed to ratify international treaties and apply them to the domestic sphere, either by the domestic policy dictating the foreign policy approach, or the other way around. Sustainable development needed to start at this point, and development must be synergised with issues of climate change. The UN had a principle that different responsibilities attached to different countries. He said that the position would be better informed after COP17.

The Chairperson said that Engen’s position was not acceptable to the Committee.

Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) Submission
Mr Stephen Law, Director, EMG, said that the climate change response was an interdepartmental matter deeply linked to the understanding of growth and development. Coherent action was required from all spheres, including National Treasury, and the Departments of Trade and Industry, Energy, Mineral Resources and Economic Development. There needed to be coherent regulation of business and industry.

Mr Law stressed that there should be a limit of 2ºC for global average temperature increases, although a lower increase would be better, especially since the world was currently facing increases of  3ºC to 4 ºC, which would have unthinkable consequences. Binding targets were needed for international negotiations and CoP17. Some countries, including USA, were
doing all they could to prevent the adoption of legally binding emissions targets. South Africa must strongly resist this pressure.

In terms of carbon tax and trading, Mr Law said that EMG felt that it was essential to t
axing climate change negatives and subsidise positive changes, but pointed out that the poor were the most vulnerable to both climate change and to mitigation efforts, so any tax must be offset with appropriate subsidies. There should be no investment in setting up a carbon trading regime until hard proof was available that it actually would lead to a reduction in emission levels.

Mr Law added that no further debate was needed on the need for mitigation, and there needed to be greater investment and political will in renewable energy research and development, greater investment in efficient public transport, greater promotion of efficient electricity usage, and removal of conflicts of interest such as Eskom’s business deals.

EMG felt that building resilience of communities was at the core of adaptation. Adaptation was concerned with more than simply ensuring the robustness of institutions and infrastructures such as roads and bridges, flood control, disaster relief and other tangibles. There was also a need to build social and political resilience, including robust service delivery, public participation in decisions, free flow of information and knowledge and education.

Water was a key development constraint. Equitable, affordable, quality water for all was already a challenge and this would be exacerbated by climate change. Water tariffs must unambiguously encourage conservation, discourage wasteful or hedonistic use, and cross-subsidise from wealthy to poor households. Scarcity of water would put increasing pressure on available resources and investment was needed to establish and maintain waste-water treatment plants, as well as upgrading to incorporate biogas digestion. Any new plants should be of low-carbon design.

EMG noted that agriculture and land-use was a major GHG contributor. Any policy must ensure more support for low-impact agricultural practices, appropriate extension services and the revival of Land Care programmes. Policy must focus on production for food security, rather than exports.

There was some question whether monitoring and evaluation policy was making a difference, and Members of Parliament must assess this. The process must involve multiple stakeholders. The Green Paper made no mention of monitoring and evaluation of adaptation efforts. Legislative responses to climate change were complex and involved many stakeholders. However, success in policies must be premised on wide-scale participation and buy-in. Future consultation must be as wide as possible and multi-stakeholder dialogue was critical in the transitional processes.

The Chairperson said that EMG had made some good points, and that more thought must be given to the Response Policy, as no similarly over-arching policy had been adopted in the past. He did not know how other countries approached the issues, but South Africa should look at models for the Executive and Legislature. The Cluster system still did not integrate departments’ work, although integration was crucial to all major projects. There had been comments about the need to consolidate legislation and this presentation had shown that stakeholders were often missing each others’ points. Consultation with all presenters had been vital and informative.

The meeting was adjourned.

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