Colloquium on Climate Change: COP21 Paris Agreement: Implications for the Nation, with Minister

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

28 October 2016
Chairperson: Mr P Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Colloquium on Climate Change engaged the Committee on the implications of the COP21 Paris Agreement as well as to create a national dialogue surrounding issues facing the environmental sector and the public.

COP21 Paris Agreement: Implications for the Nation

The Department explained that South Africa will have to increase the pace of implementation and the country will have to scale up investments significantly in renewable energy, public transport, energy efficiency, waste management and land restoration initiatives country-wide, in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of our economy, ensuring significant benefits to the economy, and significant co-benefits. Furthermore, the Department explained that all spheres of government will need to refine their strategies for adapting to the impacts of climate change and for enhancing the capacity of institutions, services, infrastructure, human settlements and ecosystem services to respond to and recover from the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the Department explained that the following are implications of the Paris Agreement:

  • South Africa will be required to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution every five years
  • The Department submitted an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution which will become a Nationally Determined Contribution on accession) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015, which applies to 2025 and 2030
  • South Africa will be required to develop policies and measures to implement our Nationally Determined Contributions, and to report on progress with these policies and measures
  • South Africa will be required to account for our Nationally Determined Contribution (the extent to which we have met the goals of our Nationally Determined Contribution), including any use of international market mechanisms
  • South Africa will have to submit biennial reports to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change on national circumstances, emissions, adaptation and other facets of climate change
  • South Africa should submit regular communications on adaptation
  • South Africa will be encouraged to develop a long-term low-carbon development strategy

Implementation of South Africa’s Climate Change Mitigation Policy

Mr Hilton Trollip and Mr Michael Boulle, UCT Energy Research Centre, presented on the preliminary findings of the research appear on the implementation of South African climate change mitigation policy. Mr Trollip explained that forty countries are compliant with mandatory reporting which is transparent. He explained that climate change papers state that mandatory reporting is the foundation for climate change mitigation. The following challenges regarding data and quantitative analysis were observed:

  • “Information asymmetry”
  • Mandatory reporting
  • Peak Plateau Decline and Mitigation Potential Analysis
  • Design of policy instruments
  • Operating policy instruments
    • Administering the carbon tax
    • Setting and Regulating Carbon Budgets

SA GHG Emission Reduction System

The Department explained that climate resilience denotes the ability to anticipate and reduce risk to climate variability and change, the ability to “bounce back” from the negative impacts of climate variability and change. Furthermore, it places a special focus on reducing inequality and increasing social and other capitals so that the most vulnerable in society are not differentially negatively impacted by climate change. Furthermore, The Department explained that there will be significant socio-economic implications for vulnerable groups and communities. It was noted that implications would largely be felt through impacts on water resources, such as changes in water resource availability and associated impacts on food production, health, energy generation, human settlements, industry and biodiversity. The Department explained that South Africa’s mitigation Intended Nationally Determined Contribution consists of the following three elements: A long term vision which entails a “peak, plateau, decline” emissions trajectory range to 2050. The Department explained that in the long-term context South Africa’s emissions will “peak, plateau and decline” within a specified range. A medium-term goal whereby South Africa’s emissions will be within the range 398-614 Mt CO2-eq in 2025 and 2030. And fflexibility consisting of a range for the Peak Plateau Decline, a range in 2025/30, and periodic review of the PPD in the longer term in the light of science, national circumstances. Furthermore, in the longer term, South Africa’s Peak Plateau Decline trajectory will be periodically reviewed

The Department explained a variety of other measures to be applied to support and/or complement the carbon budget system including a carbon tax and that the system was introduced in phases. Phase one (2016-2020) will be voluntary as there is no legal basis to set emission limits for sectors or companies. However, the second and subsequent phases (post-2020 period) will only become mandatory when climate change response legislation is in place. The objective of the mitigation system is to ensure that SA’s emissions remain within the peak, plateau and decline trajectory range, set out in South Africa’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution.

South Africa’s Climate Change M&E System

It was explained that the overall objective was to track South Africa’s transition to a lower-carbon economy and climate-resilient society.

Mobilising Citizens for Climate Change Action        

The National Planning Commission presented on the fundamentals of mobilising citizens for climate change action. She emphasised that addressing poverty and inequality is a central issue related to climate change and climate change mitigation. The moral responsibility exists to engage the people of the nation on climate change as the poor are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Furthermore, it was explained that the transition to a low-carbon economy is complex owing to the following factors:

  • We have high levels of CO2 emissions
  • Our economic development is largely dependent on fossil fuels
  • We have significant coal reserves
  • We have unacceptably high levels of poverty and inequality

The NPC emphasised that the process of transitioning to a low carbon and climate resilient economy has to place eradicating poverty and reducing inequality at the centre. The notion exists that that development is linked to fossil fuels, however decoupling has been successful. The implications of pollution have dire global implications.

The Essence of Data in Climate Change Response

According to Mr Mnikeli Ndabambi, South African Weather Service has 154 years of historical data as well as climatic means (averages) including daily, monthly and annuals have been established and can be made available if a user needs to compare current values with the long term means. Furthermore, using the long series of rainfall data, mean periods of onset and cessation of the rain seasons have been established and the dates of earliest onset and cessations established, with appropriate standard deviations such as expect late rainfall onsets with short duration. SAWS is able to give the farmer or user, the risks associated with dry/wet spells of given lengths if he plants early, at time of onset and late onset. Furthermore, this information is of use to plan whether to intercrop.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks

The Chairperson welcomed all members present including the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, and her delegation as well as all present for the Colloquium. He emphasised the vision of a Parliament which participates and makes its contribution to the ongoing environmental discourse. The Colloquium on rhino poaching resulted in the creation for national dialogue surrounding the issues facing the environmental sector. Furthermore, the Colloquium seeks to assess the nation’s readiness in light of the COP21 Agreement conference. The Chairperson expressed hopes that the Minister is prepared for the ratification of the Agreement by Parliament on Tuesday.

Minister’s Keynote Address

The Minister expressed the Department’s appreciation for the convention of the Colloquium by the Parliamentary Committee. The Minister invited Parliament to the stakeholder meeting scheduled for 1 November 2016. She quoted Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela that “our long walk to freedom is not over”. Our long walk to a cleaner environment that is not harmful to our people is far from over”. The Minister explained that COP17 decided that a climate change agreement which was universal be established and which has been adhered to by the South African government.

South Africa’s Proposed Negotiating Mandate for COP22

Ms Judy Beaumont, DDG: Climate Change & Air Quality, indicated that the following would be presented on with regard to the upcoming COP: A short overview of the achievements at COP 21 in Paris, December 2015, the key elements of the South African position for COP22/CMP12, to be held from 07-18 November 2016, in Bab Ighli, Marrakech, Morocco, a short overview of the implications of the Paris Agreement for South Africa, and readiness and UNFCCC COP 21 – Paris (December 2015).

Key Features of the Paris Agreement                

Ms Beaumont noted the following key features of the Paris Agreement:

  • A strong, legally-binding international framework to guide the global response to the global challenge of climate change
  • Recognition of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC)
    • The goal of limiting global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius, while urging efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees
    • A global adaptation goal
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by all countries every five years, to contribute to the global goals for mitigation and adaptation; each NDC will be a progression
    • Countries must report on implementation of their NDCs
    • Reconfirmation of $1 000 000 000 target by 2020 and scaling up in 2025

Implications of the Paris Agreement for South Africa

Furthermore, Ms Beaumont explained that the following are implications of the Paris Agreement:

  • South Africa will be required to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution every five years
  • The Department submitted an INDC (which will become an NDC on accession) to the UNFCCC in 2015, which applies to 2025 and 2030
  • South Africa will be required to develop policies and measures (PAMs) to implement our NDCs, and to report on progress with these PAMs
  • South Africa will be required to account for our NDC (the extent to which we have met the goals of our NDC), including any use of international market mechanisms
  • South Africa will have to submit biennial reports to the UNFCCC on national circumstances, emissions, adaptation and other facets of climate change
  • South Africa should submit regular communications on adaptation
  • South Africa will be encouraged to develop a long-term low-carbon development strategy

Status of the Negotiations

It was explained that the main focus was the appointment of the co-Chairs and the agenda for Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA). It was explained that the agenda covers Nationally Determined Contributions, Adaptation Communication, Transparency and Global Stock take.

Furthermore, two informal meetings convened by France and Morocco aimed at identifying priority issues for COP 22. The meetings mandated events such as the review of Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss & Damage as well as Facilitative dialogue under pre-2020 discussion, the high level ministerial on finance, Pre-2020 Action, entry into force of the Paris Agreement and Progress on the Rule-book for Paris Agreement.

Focus Areas for COP 22

It was explained that there are two streams of work, namely:

  • Pre 2020: 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol, raising of emission reduction ambition by developed countries and pre-2020 finance
  • Post 2020: negotiation of the rule book for entry into force of the Paris Agreement

The double threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement, fifty-five countries accounting for 55% of emissions, was achieved on 5 October. According to the Department, the current status is 82 of 197 Parties to the Convention have ratified, representing close to 60% of global emissions.

The Paris Agreement will therefore enter into force on 4 November 2016. The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) will take place in Marrakech in conjunction with COP 22 and CMP 12. The CMA is likely to be suspended until 2018, to allow for finalisation of the negotiations on the Paris Agreement rule book.

Focus Areas for COP 22: Post 2020

Ms Beaumont explained that COP 22 will be focused on developing rules for the Paris Agreement and that the three subsidiary bodies on the Paris Agreement all have tasks related to preparing for entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the APA is expected to take up the process of providing further guidance on the features of NDCs and their adaptation component and/or other adaptation communication. It will also begin consideration of modalities and procedures for the enhanced transparency framework under the Agreement and modalities of the global stocktake outlined in Article 14 of the Agreement. Moreover, coherence of issues across the bodies as South Africa expects that the outcomes of the Marrakesh COP should provide a roadmap to ensure that all the work mandated will be concluded in time to be adopted before the commitments of Parties come into effect in 2020.

SA Position for Post 2020

On Mitigation

Start the discussion on common time frames and find solutions to the dichotomy of five and 10-year timeframe of NDC.

On Adaptation

The definition of minimum information and features for the adaptation component of NDCs is central to our position - should address at least, vulnerability, priorities, plans and actions, implementation and support needs, adaptation efforts for recognition in case of developing countries.

On Finance

Start the discussion on information to be provided by developed countries in their Biennial Communications of Indicative Support (BCIS) envisaged in Article 9.5.

On Global Stocktake

Progress on the modalities of the stocktake.

SA Position for Post 2020

On Early Entry into force:

 COP 22 should build on the spirit of universality and inclusivity fostered in Paris. This spirit is evident in the speed with which the Agreement has entered into force, and as a result, the first session of the Meeting of Parties of the Paris Agreement (CMA) will hold its first meeting in Marrakech. According to the Department, CMA1 should mandate the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) to continue its work. Furthermore, it should empower the COP to take stock of progress on issues which are critical for post-2020 implementation, and especially on issues which are not necessarily currently mapped out under the APA’s work programme. Following this, the CMA should suspend its activities until 2018, by which time all Parties should have ratified

Focus Areas for COP 22: Pre 2020

COP 22 is expected to be an implementation and action COP and will take up a number of items that were given less attention, such as:

  • Mandated events - including the facilitative dialogue on finance, and pre-2020 ambition and implementation are expected to help provide clarity on the US$100 billion pledge
  • Address the concerns of many developing countries that pre-2020 action might be overshadowed by negotiations on the post-2020 period
  • Review of Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM)
  • Finance for COP22 should clearly outline in Marrakesh the pathways to achieving $100 billion per year by 2020 and beyond

SA Position on the Pre 2020

  • The COP needs to adopt the TORs for Paris Committee on Capacity Building to enable the PCCB to continue with its work plan + launch of the Capacity Building Initiative on Transparency.
  • The High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Financing should deliver on adaptation finance. Expectation is that the dialogue would result in scaled-up funding for - Adaptation.
  • The COP and the CMP need to finalise their recommendation on the future of the Adaptation Fund.
  • The Department expects developed Parties to table a clear pathway to realise the $100 billion per annum by 2020 (scaled up by 2025) and on the provision of technology and capacity building
  • Report assessment of the impact of the Action Agenda; how do we deal with issues visibility of these initiatives; how to convert opportunities emanating from Technical Examination Process into concrete action

South Africa’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)

SA’s intended nationally determined contribution:

  • Describes our national priorities and circumstances
  • Sets out our mitigation INDC (commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions)
  • Sets out our adaptation INDC (commitments to take action to adapt to the impact of climate change
  • Means of implementation: an outline of the costs associated with reducing our emissions and adapting to climate impacts

SA Adaptation INDC

The following adaptation goals were outlined:

  • Goal 1: Develop a national adaptation plan and begin operationalisation (2020 – 25)
  • Goal 2: Take into account climate considerations in national development, sub-national and sector policy frameworks for the period 2020 to 2030
  • Goal 3: Build the necessary institutional capacity for climate change response planning and implementation for the period 2020 to 2030
  • Goal 4: Develop an early warning, vulnerability and adaptation monitoring system for key climate vulnerable sectors and geographical areas
  • Goal 5: Development of a vulnerability assessment and adaptation needs framework by 20
  • Goal 6: Communication of past investments in adaptation for education and awareness as well as for international recognition       

South Africa’s mitigation INDC

Ms Beaumont explained that South Africa’s mitigation INDC consists of the following three elements:

  1. A long-term vision which entails a “peak, plateau, decline” emissions trajectory range to 2050. Ms Beaumont explained that in the long-term context South Africa’s emissions will “peak, plateau and decline” within a specified range
  2. A medium-term goal whereby South Africa’s emissions will be within the range 398-614 Mt CO2-eq in 2025 and 2030
  3. Flexibility consisting of range for the PPD, a range in 2025/30, and periodic review of the PPD in the longer term in the light of science, national circumstances. Furthermore, in the longer term, South Africa’s “PPD” trajectory will be periodically reviewed

South Africa’s Progress

Ms Beaumont noted the following with regard to South Africa’s response to climate change and still needs to be done:

  • The development of South Africa’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is well underway (details in separate presentation)
  • The framework for a national greenhouse gas emission reduction system was approved by Cabinet in 2015 and operationalisation is well underway (details in separate presentation)
  • A national climate change response monitoring and reporting web-based system is under development, and the first annual report on South Africa’s climate change response has been published (details in separate presentation)
  • South Africa’s national greenhouse gas inventory for the period 2000 to 2012 has been published for public comment, as has the 2nd Bienniel Update Report to the UNFCCC, outlining climate action.
  • Five sectoral adaptation strategies have been published by sectoral departments (agriculture, water, biodiversity, health, rural development)
  • Five provincial vulnerability assessments have been finalised and 3 provincial adaptation strategies have been finalised.
  • Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Program significant achievements including the National Green Transport Strategy being published for public comment and the progress with the National Energy Efficiency Programme

However, Ms Beaumont explained that South Africa will have to increase the pace of implementation and the country will have to scale up investments significantly in renewable energy, public transport, energy efficiency, waste management and land restoration initiatives country-wide, in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of our economy, ensuring significant benefits to the economy, and significant co-benefits.

Furthermore, Ms Beaumont explained that all spheres of government will need to refine their strategies for adapting to the impacts of climate change and for enhancing the capacity of institutions, services, infrastructure, human settlements and ecosystem services to respond to and recover from the impacts of climate change.

The National (SA GHG) Emission Reduction System

Mr Maesela Kekana, Chief Director: DEA, presented on the South African GHG emission reduction system. Mr Kekana explained that the reduction system is an organized structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements that are critical for the country’s greenhouse gas emission reduction. These elements directly and indirectly influence one another to maintain the existence of the system, and will include a range of measures as contemplated in the National Climate Change Response White Paper (NCCRWP), aimed at achieving the overall national goal.

The purpose of the presentation was to provide an update on the development and implementation of South Africa’s Climate Change Mitigation System. In 2015, Cabinet approved South Africa’s climate change mitigation system framework. The system includes the following key elements:

  • Greenhouse gas inventory
  • Mitigation Potential Analysis
  • National Emissions Trajectory
  • A carbon budget for each company
  • Pollution prevention plans by companies with carbon budgets
  • Desired emissions reduction outcomes for key economic sectors
  • A reporting system, to gather information on the actual emissions of users

Mr Kekana indicated a variety of other measures to be applied to support and/or complement the carbon budget system, including a carbon tax and that the system was introduced in phases.

Phase one (2016-2020) will be voluntary as there is no legal basis to set emission limits for sectors or companies. However, the second and subsequent phases (post-2020 period) will only become mandatory when climate change response legislation is in place.

The objective of the mitigation system is to ensure that SA’s emissions remain within the peak, plateau and decline trajectory range, set out in South Africa’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution.

The National Strategy on Adaptation

Towards A Climate Resilient South African Society

The Department explained that climate resilience denotes the ability to anticipate and reduce risk to climate variability and change, the ability to “bounce back” from the negative impacts of climate variability and change. Furthermore, it places a special focus on reducing inequality and increasing social and other capitals so that the most vulnerable in society are not differentially negatively impacted by climate change.

It was explained that in order to achieve this kind of society, South Africa needs to consider the following:

  • Strengthening and improvement of systems, processes and mechanisms to enhance effective response:  Strengthening of access to information and resources necessary for appropriate and timely responses.
  • Enhancing the science policy interface for decision making: A combination of science-based information, socioeconomic baselines and vulnerability assessments including the integration of economic impact assessments, and gender issues.
  • Ensuring development is an integral part of climate change action: an opportunity to rethink the development pathways, including development, socio-economic needs.
  • Leadership for climate resilience: Climate resilience and development outcomes
  • Cross-sectoral integration: Underpinning all of the above is the need for cross-sectoral integration, collaboration and communication through the multi stakeholder engagements

Long Term Adaptation Scenarios

The following Long Term Adaptation Scenarios were noted:

Water

  • Anticipated demand growth, 98%-95% assurance of supply depending on strategic needs.
  • Focus on infrastructure development, little focus on demand management.
  • Early climate change planning in a few key water management areas

Agriculture and Fisheries

  • Overall risks due to increasing temperature relate to increasing water demand, pests and diseases, crop suitability.
  • Maize production at risk in western reaches of summer rainfall area, wheat production at risk in winter rainfall region, key export fruit crops at risk but commercial producers show high adaptability.
  • High risk for small scale and subsistence farmers, including adverse field conditions for labour.
  • Risks to coastal livelihoods interact with governance systems for resources, recent shifts in resources, possibly cyclical, have caused assets to be stranded (West Coast factories).
  • Adaptation strategies relate to sustainable management of stocks and improved predictive understanding

Human Health

  • Key risks due to existing disease burden and poverty, especially in rural and urban poor mainly relating to extreme events
  • Some risks relating to vector borne diseases, such as malaria, schistosomiasis,
  •  Adaptive strategies include efficient early warning systems and improved living conditions and reduced poverty

Human Settlement

  • Key Exposure Risks are:
  • Increased temperatures - heat waves and droughts
  • Extreme weather - loss of life and damage to infrastructure
  • Sea level rise and coastal storm surges: salt water intrusion on fresh water reservoirs

Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

  • Specific hazards including floods, droughts, fires and sediment loads with implications to specific infrastructure such as roads, human settlements, dams, powerlines and bridges
  • The risks of extreme events due to increased natural climate variability
  • Understanding these risks and identifying key areas of concern is critical for developing suitable and sustainable adaptation policies and scenarios

Economics to Adaptation in Future Climates

  • Areas of concern: water supply impacts, significant risks to road infrastructure, increases in irrigation demand and the potential reduction in crop yields from staple dry-land crops such as maize and wheat
  • Vulnerable communities, such as those dependent on dry land agriculture, are more likely to be severely impacted by climate change
  • Economic impacts are likely to be most significant at a sub-national and sector based level rather than at a national scale

Biodiversity and Ecosystems

  • Potential risk due to expansion of desert biome conditions in central interior, adaptive capacity high with many management options, early warning and observation systems are critical, spatial planning to ensure maintenance of resilient landscapes, ecosystem based approaches

Impact Scenarios

The Department explained that there will be significant socio-economic implications for vulnerable groups and communities. The following impact-related observations were made:

  • Implications would largely be felt through impacts on water resources, such as changes in water resource availability and associated impacts on food production, health, energy generation, human settlements, industry and biodiversity
  • Higher frequency of natural disasters (flooding and drought), would have cross-sectoral effects on human settlements, disaster risk management as well as food and water security
  • The socio-economic impacts and potential response options for human settlements (urban, rural and coastal), and disaster risk reduction

These risks are likely to result in loss of property and damage to infrastructure, disruption of essential services, and reduced agricultural production and a breakdown of food systems furthermore:

  • The total storage of dams was at 54.9% by end of the summer rainfall season which is lower than 79.9% record of last year the same time
  • Soya beans output is forecasted to decrease by 1% year on year whilst sunflower, dry beans, groundnuts and sorghum output has also been negatively impacted

Economic Implications

The following economic implications were noted:

  • The cost of the staple food basket increased by approximately 19% from January 2015 to the corresponding month in 2016 and a further increase of 10% in end of the first quarter of 2016 is expected
  • South Africa imported 2 million tons of wheat in 2015/16 at a cost of approximately R 6 billion
  • South Africa is expected to import 856 000 tons of white maize and 1.9 million tons of yellow maize at an estimated cost of R 11.5 billion
  • South Africa imported 2 million tons of wheat in 2015/16 at a cost of approximately R 6 billion
  • The Red Meat Producers Association estimates that over 40 000 cattle had died as a result of drought by the end of 2015 in Kwazulu-Natal alone
  • Grain South Africa has estimated the loss in export revenue to be valued at R4.7 billon
  • The total farming debt in South Africa at the end of June 2015 amounted to R 125 billion having increased at an average of 14% from 2005

Adaptation Opportunities 

The following adaptation opportunities were noted:

  • Understand likely conflicts and trade-off likely to arise in terms of the needs for urban supply of water, water for agriculture, water for industrial activities and heightened exploitation of ground water resources within the context of climate change
  • Integration of climate-smart agriculture into climate-resilient rural development planning, development of long-term scenarios, use of early warning systems, improving food security, and increased integration into other sectors
  • Improved local disaster risk local and vulnerability assessments to inform local government planning are needed
  • Integration of climate change into the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Develop system to cope in future the implementation of social, institutional, technological and behavioural interventions within the health sector
  • Diversification of activities and income generation of the vulnerable coastal and fisher communities and socioeconomic linkages from climate change impacts on the fisheries sector to other sectors is required

Implementation of the National Climate Change Response Policy- National and Subnational

The following Adaptation Plans are being developed, or have been completed by the respective sectors, namely:

  • Department Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – food security
  • Department of Water and Sanitation – water strategy
  • Department of Rural Development Land Reform – human settlement
  • Department of Health to guide adaptation on health impacts
  • Department of Environmental Affairs – biodiversity

The following Adaptation Response Plans are being developed or have been completed by provinces:

  • Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North-West Province have completed their Adaptation Response Plans (2014-2016)
  • Free State and Northern Cape (Risks and Vulnerability assessments and Adaptation Response Plans (2015/17)
  • Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal- Response plans reviewed and updated (2016).
  • Western Cape’s strategy was finalised in 2014
  • Mainstreaming Climate Change Responses at Local government
  • Trainings have been rolled out in 47 Municipalities in 3 Province (Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga) during 2016/17 using the Lets respond toolkit
  • Additional, 17 Municipalities have been capacitated as well in the Free State and Eastern Cape Provinces

National Adaptation Strategy

The National Adaptation Strategy comprises the following:

  • Articulate the adaptation vision for South Africa
  • Reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development
  • Understand the country’s developmental pathways and limitations
  • Assess vulnerability in relation to economic projections/growth goals in the NDP
  • Strategic trade-offs across sectors; (water-agriculture-energy)
  • Geographical areas of vulnerability
  • Alignment with the INDC adaptation goals
    • Develop a National Adaptation Plan
    • Climate considerations in development frameworks
    • Build the necessary institutional capacity for climate change response
    • Develop an early warning, vulnerability and adaptation monitoring system
    • Development of a vulnerability assessment and adaptation needs framework
    • Communication and awareness
    • Incorporate relevant climate information systems and adopt a risk-based approach to planning

The National Climate Change Response Monitoring and Evaluation System
South Africa’s Climate Change M&E System

Overall Objective

It was explained that the overall objective was to track South Africa’s transition to a lower-carbon economy and climate-resilient society by means of the following:

Cross-cutting

  • Inform responses to climate change including the scope of measures and their effectiveness
  • Provide learning – for response programme managers, for experts, for students, for policy-makers and for researchers
  • Institutionalise reporting of South Africa’s reporting obligations under the UNFCCC
  • Inform SA negotiators under the UNFCCC
  • One-stop shop for climate change information in South Africa

Lower-carbon

  • Assess SA’s performance against the National Emissions Trajectory range
  • Assess the implementation of DEROs & carbon budgets, including mitigation impact, implementation progress, cost, jobs created and wider SD benefits

Climate-resilience

  • Provide evidence base of the impact of climate change in South Africa

Climate Finance

  • Track the use, impact and effectiveness of funds in climate change response and support the identification of resource requirements, allocation and opportunities

Implementation of South African climate change mitigation policy

Mr Hilton Trollip, UCT Energy Research Centre, presented on the preliminary findings of the research that appear on the implementation of South African climate change mitigation policy. For the purposes of the paper the starting point definition for South African climate change mitigation policy is the NCCRWP, and end points as when the mitigation policies in the NCCRWP, or other policies that emerge, are operational and begin to cause mitigation measures to be undertaken.

Mitigation measures refer to technologies, processes, and practices that contribute to mitigation, for example renewable energy technologies, waste minimisation processes and public transport commuting practices. Furthermore, it was explained that a mitigation policy is a course of action taken and/or mandated by a government, to enhance mitigation such as support mechanisms for renewable energy supplies, carbon or energy taxes, and fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.

Mitigation policy is what government does to make actors undertake mitigation measures, such as an ambition agenda, an implementation agenda, techno-economic analysis, political, public administration and political economy analysis and windows and stream coupling.

Forty countries are compliant with mandatory reporting which is transparent. Climate change papers state that mandatory reporting is the foundation for climate change mitigation.

Challenges: Data & Quantitative Analysis

The following challenges regarding data and quantitative analysis were observed:

  • “Information asymmetry”
  • Mandatory reporting
  • Peak Plateau Decline and Mitigation Potential Analysis
  • Design of policy instruments
  • Operating policy instruments
    • Administering the carbon tax
    • Setting and Regulating Carbon Budgets

Delays in implementation

Mr Michael Boulle explained that delays in implementation were a result of the following preliminary findings:

  • Tight deadlines set in Climate Change Response White Paper (CCRWP) in 2011
  • ‘Voetstoots’ and ‘Rolls-Royce’ policies
  • In conjunction with voetstoots status also delayed by:
    • Information asymmetry
    • Challenges to PPD and MPA
    • Technical, institutional and political dependencies contribute to delays

Real-World’ Risks

Mr Boulle explained that many information asymmetry challenges remain. Furthermore, the DEA is working with powerful interests to construct system however, some aspects of a successful system pose threats to these powerful interests. Moreover, despite progress, the following risks were noted:

  • The Iron Triangle
  • “special relationships between bureaucrats, committees and interest groups, which are alleged to be impenetrable from the outside” (Kingdon 2014:33)
  • “Because they are often concerned with protecting current benefits and prerogatives, they affect the governmental agenda more by blocking potential items than by promoting them. Rather than structuring a governmental agenda, interest groups often try to insert their preferred alternatives” (Kingdon 2014: 33)
  •   Iron Triangle 

Opportunities provided by COP21

  • “Each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve.
  • “Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions
  • “Each Party shall regularly provide the following information… Information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving its nationally determined contribution
  •  “Information submitted by each Party under paragraphs 7 and 9 of this Article shall undergo a technical expert review

Conclusions

  • Implementation involves much more than ‘turning administrative handles: politics and interests are deeply involved
  • Significant steps in progress often involve an item/problem being firmly enough on agenda, there being a solution for the problem, and favourable condition in the ‘politics stream’
  • South Africa has taken substantial steps that can be explained as above
    • But there are delays and obstacles and risks
  • Additional steps are needed – using the thinking above can help create opportunities for these steps to taken
  • Risks need to be identified and managed

Mobilising Citizens for Climate Change Action

NPC Commissioner, Ms Tasneem Essop, presented on the fundamentals of mobilising citizens for climate change action. Ms Essop emphasised that addressing poverty and inequality is a central issue related to climate change and climate change mitigation. She explained that the moral responsibility exists to engage the people of the nation on climate change as the poor are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.

20130 Vision

The following was noted in terms of the vision for 2030:

  • An environmentally sustainable society, expanded low-carbon economy and reducing emissions
  • South Africa has reduced poverty and unemployment to socially sustainable levels, as emissions reach a plateau
  • Thriving rural communities are providing an economic and social base for a significant number of people
  • Urban development is more compact and energy efficient
  • Growing public awareness of the consequences of climate change and unconstrained consumption of our natural resources leads to a refocusing of political priorities towards the protection and rehabilitation of the region’s natural assets
  • Investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure has enabled South Africa to export and profit from its technologies and skills, and benefit sectors that deliver enhanced energy, food and water security, new high-quality job opportunities, and improved quality of life
  • The state is well capacitated and comfortably manages its policy, regulatory and support functions
  • The transition has been aligned with South Africa’s efforts to address poverty and inequality
  • The benefits of building resilience are evident in the strides towards a flourishing and prosperous nation. Various incentive frameworks and a suite of comprehensive carbon-pricing policies have catalysed high levels of private investment in mitigation and adaptation activities, and generated public resources for reducing emissions

Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

Ms Essop explained that the transition to a low-carbon economy is complex owing to the following factors:

  • We have high levels of CO2 emissions
  • Our economic development is largely dependent on fossil fuels
  • We have significant coal reserves
  • We have unacceptably high levels of poverty and inequality

Ms Essop emphasised that the process of transitioning to a low carbon and climate resilient economy has to place eradicating poverty and reducing inequality at the centre. This process requires commitment to the following:

  • An expanded renewable energy programme
  • Appropriate policy instruments
  • Proactive government actions
  • Better and effective regulation around carbon pricing, building and construction standards, transport
  • Robust M&E

The notion exists that that development is linked to fossil fuels, however decoupling has been successful. The implications of pollution have dire global implications.

Adoption of a Carbon Budget Approach

Ms Essop emphasised the following with regard to the adoption of a carbon budget approach:

  • How this budget gets used and shared cannot be left to government alone
  • The nation has to be engaged about what we prioritise, trade offs and ‘losers and winners’
  • The conflict between the public good and private interests 

Challenges

The challenges were noted as follows:

  • Development vs environment discourse - climate change viewed as an environmental issue
  • Stakeholder vested interests regarding negotiation stance 
  • Lack of integration and synergy in policy and implementation
  • Trade-offs and lock-ins

Largely Unresolved Issues  

The following unresolved issues were noted:

  • Transition costs – how much, who pays, who bears the costs
  • Role of energy efficiency – ambition, scale, instruments
  • Energy Mix - Role of coal, nuclear, gas
  • How to build resilience – communities, economic sectors such as Drought and other extreme weather events
  • Role of taxes and trading scheme
  • Types of incentives
  • When, where and how do you cushion the poor?
  • When, where and how do we cushion “losing” sectors?
  • Shape and structure of the energy industry
  • Competitiveness – short term versus long term

Process Going Forward

Ms Essop explained that the NDP was a high level first round of recommendations. Furthermore, it will be followed by a yearlong Pathways planning process bringing together a group of social partners at high level and experts as well as public engagements. She explained plotting the different paths to transition to low carbon society that maximises development co-benefits thus reducing poverty and inequality. There is potential to use this consensus as basis for a social contract in the country

Role of the Portfolio Committee

  • Important nexus between executive and the public – ensure transparent and participatory decision-making    
  • Cross-cutting view across all departments for accountability regarding domestic and international commitments     
  • Initiate Public discourse on topics such as transition, priorities, trade-offs and resourcing
  • Keep issue alive politically and in the public domain starting with energy choices 

Ms Essop urged Parliamentarians to engage on the issue of climate change in their various constituencies. Ms Essop thanked the Committee for its commitment and dedication to climate change mitigation.

The Essence of Data in Climate Change Response

Mr Ndabambi briefed the Committee on data availability, data usage and value add and share products derived from weather and climatological data in response to climate variability and change.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) is an Implementing agency of the Department. The visions of SAWS are to achieve an end-state where citizens, communities and business sectors are weather resilient because they are able to use the information, products and services provided by SAWS optimally.

Data Availability and Value Add

SAWS has 154 years of historical data as well as climatic means (averages) including daily, monthly and annuals have been established and can be made available if a user needs to compare current values with the long term means.

Furthermore, using the long series of rainfall data, mean periods of onset and cessation of the rain seasons have been established and the dates of earliest onset and cessations established, with appropriate standard deviations such as expect late rainfall onsets with short duration,

SAWS is able to give the farmer or user, the risks associated with dry/wet spells of given lengths if he plants early, at time of onset and late onset. Furthermore, this information is of use to plan whether to intercrop.

Discussion

The Committee expressed its appreciation for the presentations and for the progress regarding climate change mitigation.

Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) enquired to the countries pushing for the suspension of the scheduled meeting of parties.

Ms Essop questioned the quality of policy execution and emphasised that often directives are reduced to tick-box requirements within the bureaucracy.

It was noted as a shortcoming that the there is a lack of resolution in the conceptualisation of sustainable development in the White Paper.

The Committee requested advice for government to address the issue of the imbalance of public participation and the information asymmetry.

In response to the Department, it was emphasised that there is a need to share the issue of climate change at local level.

The Chairperson emphasised the need for a transition agenda to address challenges such as implementation. More Colloquiums are required in order to effectively balance research with the expectations of the local people.

The Chairperson requested that the research paper produced by the UCT Energy Research Centre be made available upon its completion.

The Chairperson enquired as to the details of the contradictions presented on as well as the energy resource plan which he emphasised were important for mitigation efforts.

The Chairperson enquired as to possible examples of successful mitigation processes.

Ms Laura Matler, German Embassy, noted her appreciation for the progress on climate change mitigation research programmes. Ms Matler enquired as to the way forward regarding the “iron triangle” and the relevant support for the Department.

It was noted that the risks of climate change should be assessed and that the data must be reviewed and submitted. It was also suggested that the institutional arrangements for policy are not sufficient.

The Chairperson thanked those present for their engagements.

The meeting was adjourned.

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