Climate Change Bill: public hearings; COP 27 prep

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

28 October 2022
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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The virtual public hearings heard 12 submissions on the Climate Change Bill.

UCT's African Climate and Development Initiative recommendations included creating a national greenhouse gas emissions budget, climate funding through foreign investments, capacity building, mandatory annual reporting and cross-sectoral governance.

The Committee asked if the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) was best suited to carry the specific responsibilities rather than the current committees and other public representatives.

Business Unity South Africa recommended the legislation of the National Determined Contributions and alignment of carbon budget and tax. It believes that non-compliance with the carbon budget should not give rise to criminal sanctions.

The Committee asked why the Climate Change Bill should exclude penalties for high emitters. They asked if UCT and BUSA were involved in community work or international organisations to mitigate climate change impacts.

The Minerals Council South Africa recommended alignment of the carbon budget and carbon tax and development of a carbon pricing mechanism.

Committee members asked the Minerals Council about derelict and ownerless mines; its concern about the unplanned closure of mines and its impact on unemployment; its views on job creation in a just transition to reliance on renewable energy and how it will ensure the coal mines abide by the law during that transition.

Section 27 recommended the inclusion of the Department of Basic Education in Schedule 2 requiring a Sector Adaptation Strategy and Plan. It called for a gender-responsive Climate Change Bill with gender mainstreaming. The Bill must provide for climate funding or financing framework.

The Committee asked what a Sector Adaptation Plan for Basic Education should look like; how it envisioned environmental impact assessments as a solution to communities and infrastructure affected by climate change; and why it suggested cooperative governance as an accountability structure because the District Development Model caters for this.

Just Share recommended time frames when emitters are held accountable and a mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases activities by the Minister under clause 23. It suggested the alignment of the carbon budget and carbon tax. Companies that fail to submit a carbon budget and a GHG mitigation plan to the Minister must be held accountable and penalised as per Section 49 of NEMA.

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) recommended that climate change public awareness be extended and target doctors and other health professionals, in alignment with the World Medical Association policy on climate change. SAMA suggested that the harmonisation of policies should be confined to ministers but should cut across different ministers, sectors and non-state actors.

The Committee asked if SAMA is affiliated with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. It asked how can the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment impose penalties and why did SAMA want to be included in the Presidential Climate Commission.

Chemical and Allied Industries Association called for a single holistic mitigation system with timelines aligned to international processes, including the alignment of carbon budgets with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change activities.

The Committee asked how its industries intend to decrease GHG emissions in South Africa and if its affiliates are registering hazardous chemical storage with the National Department of Health.

BioWatch suggested that the Bill must address an intersectoral approach to transforming food and agricultural systems. The Bill needs a regenerative and rights-based approach to develop climate, economic and environmental justice.

The Committee asked how BioWatch how it prepares small-scale farmers for floods, pesticides, drought, theft and vandalism and access to international and national markets.

KwaZulu Natal's Department of Environmental Affairs suggested the need to have localised mitigation plans and the development of a climate change implementation plan.

The Humane Society International called for the inclusion of deadlines for carbon budgets and enforcement mechanism provisions beyond a certain threshold.

The City of Cape Town emphasised the need for just transition policies and strategies, climate funds and a requirement for carbon sequestration in the Bill.

The Department briefed the Committee on South Africa's key issues at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (COP 27) from 6 to 18 November 2022 in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Committee secretary asked the Committee to nominate an Acting Chairperson as the Chairperson would only join the meeting later.

Ms C Phillips (DA) suggested Mr Bryant who declined. Ms N Gantsho (ANC) suggested Mr Modise and Ms Phillips seconded this.

Mr P Modise (ANC), Acting Chairperson, greeted everyone and noted apologies from the
Minister and Director General.

UCT’s African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) submission
Prof Harold Winkler, ACDI Associate, noted that the views are independent from UCT and are based on the team's individual research gathered over the years.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
(a) National determined contributions (NDCs) - The Bill must clarify the roles of institutions to implement NDCs and all required societal approaches. It must enable coordination across all government departments and enable reporting internationally.
(b) National greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions budgets - The Bill must include a five-year interval national GHG emission budget, a firm one for 2021 - 2025, two indicative budgets for 2026 - 2030 and 2031 - 2035 and the last one on track to net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions around 2050. This approach is provide flexibility compared to targets for every year, offer clear policy signals to private sector and society, and is consistent with science and easier to relate to global carbon budgets. Emission budget must be used as a benchmark for allocating sectoral emissions targets (SETs).
(c) Climate Fund - The Bill lacks provision to fund mandates. South Africa should get international support and use investment from Just Energy Transition Partnership to accelerate coal mitigation and social justice. This fund should not be a substitute for budget allocation and investigation into climate action by South Africa’s private sector.
(d) Mandatory Annual Reporting - Detailed and reliable data reporting on emissions must be required from data providers including companies.

The submission also included the need to establish scientific, specific functions of the Presidential Climate Commission, capacity building, stakeholder engagement, cross-sectoral governance and inclusion of responsibilities of loss and damage. It suggested numerous textual amendments on the policy coordination of the NDCs and GHG emissions targets.

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) submission
Mr Happy Khambule, BUSA Environmental and Energy Manager, noted BUSA is a confederation of business organisations, including chambers of commerce and industry, professional associations, corporate associations and unisectoral organisations. It represents South African business on macroeconomic and high-level issues at the national and international levels.

BUSA said that the Bill is a signal to the country’s continued efforts to contribute to global climate change efforts. BUSA supports a net-zero emissions target by 2050 and businesses recognise the need for shifts in the energy and the industrial economy through enacting a Climate Change Act to lay guidelines for climate management in the country.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Regulatory certainty - BUSA expects the process of developing successive NDCs to be enshrined in the legislation framework and should be amended accordingly when appropriate. The framework legislation and national policy must recognise that industries with certain processes and conditions make abatement difficult and costly. These sectors are economically essential and have acknowledged the importance of addressing climate change through increased ambition and voluntary mitigation.

Alignment of the carbon budget and tax - BUSA is concerned about the application of carbon tax within and below the carbon budget, which results in double penalty. It calls for the conclusion of meaningful alignment before finalising the Bill. BUSA believes that non-compliance with the carbon budget should not give rise to criminal sanctions.

Discussion
Ms C Phillips (DA) commended the companies that operate under current environmental authorisations. That actually becomes a loophole especially in the mining industry. We have inactive mining companies that reopen after 20 to 30 years. They then want to invoke the same environmental authorisation that existed previously. That becomes a problem to the environment. Can you be cognisant of that in your submission?

Mr D Bryant (DA) asked Prof Winkler for recommendations about reviewing and enhancing the role of the Presidential Climate Commission within the legislation and to further enable the PCC to negotiate with relevant stakeholders to develop long-term strategies. Do you see a potential risk in the establishment of such a statutory commission that will be accountable only to the President? Why do you believe that those responsibilities cannot be carried by current committees and public representatives? Why is it important to have this statutory commission? How do you envisage the idea of building consensus amongst stakeholders as a central recommendation made to augment the PCC? How will it differ from the current set out public participation processes? If it will differ, how will the PCC identify and cherry pick the stakeholders it wishes to deal with, without excluding members of the broader society who are normally engaged during the existing public participation processes.

Mr Bryant said it is crucial for BUSA to recognise the role it plays as public representative in getting the framework of the Climate Change Bill right, because if things are not done correctly there would be ramifications.

On the BUSA statement that carbon budget non-compliance should not give any rise to criminal sanctions plus the lack of technology by South Africa to mitigate emissions, Mr Bryant said that the goal is to encourage industries to move towards greener technologies and retrofitting of existing infrastructure. The Bill does not force but incentivise industries to move towards a just transition. BUSA suggested that the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) is suitable to deal with criminal offences; but how would this apply to carbon emissions which are difficult to track? What other criminal legislation do you suggest for offending industries with high emissions? Why should this Bill treat this differently compared to other environmental offences?

Mr Modise asked BUSA and ACDI how their organisations are involved in communities and international organisations on climate change. What does UCT do about climate change? Are they lecturing to students to assist Parliament in moving the country towards a net zero carbon emission future? What other roles are currently played by UCT to ensure communities make climate change a central preoccupation? Are we all relying on the government for sustainable development while we know that the implementation of climate change initiatives is far larger ? Does BUSA and UCT have a particular budget to assist with climate mitigation and adaptation?

ACDI response
Prof Winkler replied that he cannot speak on behalf of everyone at UCT. However, UCT is an institution focused on knowledge creation. It has a network within the university under the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) that brings everyone together. ACDI also trains government employees and civil society across South Africa and many other African countries. UCT pioneers trans-disciplinary research that co-produces knowledge with communities.

Prof Winkler replied that the PCC is an appropriate body because climate change impacts require an integrated societal and economical approach. It is not just an environmental matter but a socio-economic matter that affects vulnerable communities the most. The Presidential Climate Commission emerged as a consensus from Job Summit 2018; therefore it was intended to be a statutory body. At the statutory level, Ministers across departments and other commissioners from civil society, companies and labour unions are required to debate. The PCC has brought more dynamism, although it is not perfect. A report about climate change carries less weight than a report prepared as a statutory requirement. A statutory-required strategy has important policies, like renewable energy policies.

BUSA response
Mr Happy Khambule replied that some sectors do not have the available technologies, but can do more should the technologies be available in South Africa. Some of these technologies will only come in a few years because of their design nature or cannot meet the operational requirements. Some of the technologies are expensive, meaning that South Africa cannot afford them due to a lack of manufacturing companies. South Africa will have to wait until the cost of that technology actually reduces. Different sectors require different mitigation strategies and there are some sectors that have reached a ceiling through their voluntary actions. These sectors just require necessary leeway to implement far more ambitious actions.

Mr Khambule replied that companies have certain duties through the Companies Act that have to be abided by. These duties can give rise to sanctions, some of which are criminal and punishable through NEMA. For example, if you do not produce a pollution prevention plan through NEMA, there are certain sanctions that would be applied to you. You do not create a new sanction just because of a new environmental management Act. You allow the overall framework to dictate the different pieces of legislation. BUSA looks at carbon budgets as being a ‘penalty of some sorts’ for non-compliance. It is important not to penalise companies that are trying to fulfil a mandate given the impact of economic conditions on backtracking energy and infrastructural decisions. There are other ways you can deal with emissions without jeopardising the full functioning of the emitting companies. There is legislation that can deal with different aspects of non-compliance and irregularities. To ensure alignment of carbon tax and budget, the penalties must be over the tax. BUSA had gone beyond its mandate and collaborated with national business initiatives to create pathways for the different sectors to reach their milestones for a just transition by 2050. We are already on the bus moving in the same direction. We want to ensure no one falls out of this bus.

Minerals Council of South Africa (MINCOSA) submission
Ms Stephinah Mudau, MINCOSA Head: Environmental Department, said Minerals Council is a voluntary membership, private sector mining employer organisation as an association of mining finance companies and mines. It works closely with BUSA and other employee organisations in formulating policies for mining industry employers. It represents mining companies producing about 90% of South Africa’s mineral production and employing about 90% of mining sector employees.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Multiple unaligned mitigation system (carbon budget and carbon tax): MINCOSA is concerned about the misalignment of the Carbon Budget (CB) system implemented by the Department and a Carbon Tax (CT) system implemented by National Treasury – both with the objective of driving the reduction of GHG emissions. MINCOSA recommended development of a carbon pricing mechanism to align CB with CT which takes into consideration national and company circumstances, mitigation potentials and mitigation trajectory.
Carbon budget - It proposes amendments to section 24 of the Bill to explicitly state whether the carbon budgets will be limited to scope 1 emissions or not.
Potential Constraints of Carbon Budget over Existing Authorization - The implementation of the Carbon budget does not take into consideration the operational capacity authorised through existing rights environmental and mineral rights. It highlighted a need for a Climate Change Bill to carefully consider existing rights because Existing Authorisations are not curtailed in a manner that may not have been intended by the Act or may otherwise be considered unlawful. Any curtailment of existing rights need to be specified in section 34 of the Bill.
Just Transition - There is inadequate reference to the just transition when developing SETs and carbon budgets. MINCOSA proposed an amendment to clauses 22 and 24 to require the Minister to consider progress in just transition implementation when developing SETs and carbon budgets.
Penalties - These may give rise to severe economic consequences. It recommended that the regulations in clause 27(2) and (3) be drafted with consideration of the impact of enforced penalties on the economy. It suggested that any penalties introduced in the Bill should encourage deterrence and emission reduction rather than inflict punishment.
Commencement Date of Section 35 - It proposed the effective date for clauses requiring making of regulations be staggered until proper alignment of the overall mitigation system is attained.

The Minerals Council South Africa reaffirmed its commitment to support the development of the Climate Change Bill as a framework of climate change legislation in SA as well as the development and implementation of policies, measures, programmes to sustainably decarbonise and encourage stimulation and development of new growth sectors for the economy.

Section 27 submission
Mr Motheo Brodie, Legal Research and Advice Office Coordinator, and Ms Tshidi Lencoasa, Budget Researcher, noted that Section 27 is a public interest law organisation that works to advance the rights to basic education and access to health services.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Clause 2 - Section 27 proposed inclusion of Basic Education, considering the importance of the basic education sector to human and societal development.
Gender Responsive Climate Change -The Bill and related documents must adhere to the Cabinet approved Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing Framework.
Department of Basic Education must be included in Schedule 2 on Sector Adaptation Plans.
Climate Funding - Section 27 recommended the inclusion of a climate funding framework which ensures adequate allocation of financial resources to departments, including Basic Education and Health, to ensure that South Africa is equipped to adapt to the risks and impacts of climate change.

Discussion
Mr Bryant asked if Section 27 had collaborated with its partner organisations, why was the submission limited about suggestions on mitigation activities for society as the country transitioned from reliance on coal to renewable energy. Have you done research on the impact of the transition on job losses, the education system and other aspects of stability within the coal towns? What would a Sector Adaptation Plan for Basic Education look like? Or will you be focusing on the mitigation side in schools? What Bill clauses are you suggesting should mention gender mainstreaming?

Ms S Mbatha (ANC) said that there is a special role for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in infrastructure. How do you envision the conducting of EIA as a solution to communities and infrastructure affected by the KwaZulu-Natal floods. She suggested a maintenance plan for infrastructure to mitigate the impact of floods on roads, toilets and houses. She is disappointed that learners are still using pit latrines at schools and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has not phased out pit latrines. Can we investigate why DBE is not phasing out pit latrines? Is it due to budget constraints? She suggested if pit latrines have an impact on climate change, then DBE must be penalised by the Green Scorpions.

Ms A Weber (DA) agreed with her colleagues and added that a just transition to a green future has not been worked through by the country. DBE must create awareness around climate change and a just transition in communities and across all its different stakeholders. She recommended including climate change education in the school curriculum.

The Chairperson, Ms F Muthambi (ANC), joined the meeting.

Ms Phillips commented that she is against irresponsible mining. Is the mining sector not one of the highest emitters? Many of the furnaces that emit higher GHG emissions were built in the 1970s and 1980s. There is new technology that can be embraced to mitigate the emissions. A lot of the activities that were authorised 30 years ago have not taken into consideration the expansion of residential and business areas. How will this expansion be taken into consideration if a mine is reliant on existing environmental authorisations? It is pointless to provide jobs to people if we are killing them in the process. We cannot consider only mitigating activities for keeping jobs. We need to consider people, animals and the environment too.

The Chairperson noted Section 27's mention of an accountability structure for cooperative governance and intergovernmental relations. Is the District Development Model in line with Intergovernmental Relations Framework not working to facilitate cooperative governance? Do you not think that all this can be addressed through the District Development Model?

Minerals Council SA response
Ms Mudau replied that Minerals Council South Africa is pro responsible mining, hence it promotes compliance with current legislative frameworks and authorisation for mining. It goes further beyond the scope of the legislation when it comes to maintaining environmental integrity through best practices. She can provide a list of interventions. The housing developments next to the mines, found the mines there. There are necessary safeguards and regulatory requirements that are followed for formal housing structures next to the mines. We are equally concerned about the health and environmental implications for communities that are adjacent or close to mines. We are not supposed to have formal housing development adjacent to the mines. The challenges that are mostly faced by the communities relate to illegal mining or where mining activities have ceased and there are derelict and abandoned mines. The mines that were authorised years ago are compelled to comply with the current regulations and environmental laws.

Section 27 response
Mr Brodie replied that the submission was solely developed by Section 27 and received endorsement by the other organisations. The adaptation plan must ensure that DBE fulfils its mandates. There are hundreds of schools due for maintenance in Limpopo, with one case currently at the Polokwane High Court. We need to build safe and appropriate infrastructure at schools. An adaptation plan looks at how government continues to deliver on education when learners are not able to go to school. It needs to think about how climate change impacts education. It must come up with holistic solutions that address climate change and education issues. Section 27 shares similar frustration with Ms Mbatha on the existence of pit latrines in Limpopo. He asked the Committee to allow Section 27 to submit written answers to the questions raised by the Chairperson about cooperative governance.

Ms Lencoasa replied that Section 27 is focused on education and health. We do agree that the implications of transitioning to a low carbon economy has a major impact on the education and health of coal communities, especially in eMalahleni. Section 27 has made submission on just energy transition partnerships. It has consulted with Congress of South African Trade Unions and other stakeholders. We are continuously contributing to perspectives and research on moving towards a low carbon economy from a health, education and gender perspective. The Bill only mentioned gender once, which triggered concerns about gender by Section 27. It is important to ensure the Bill is gender responsive and aligns with the Gender Framework of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. There is no mention of gender mainstreaming in section 17 that speaks to adaptation scenarios. Climate change experiences are different in terms of gender and the Bill must recognise that. Section 27 also envisions gender mainstreaming in the National and Sector Adaptation Strategy and Plans. The gender mainstreaming budget and support must cut across all government levels. The Bill must account for gender mainstreaming in the provincial and municipal forums.

Follow up
Mr Byant asked Section 27 why a Basic Education sector adaptation plan is required. Some items Section 27 mentioned such as infrastructure can be argued to be covered in the policies of the Department of Basic Education. Can it be specific on the climate-related needs you envisage arising that will necessitate an adaptation plan put in place?

The Chairperson said that the Minerals Council is the right body to share with the Committee on the creation of jobs in a just transition economy. What is your view on job creation? How will you ensure that the coal mines abide by the laws as South Africa move towards a just transition to renewable energy? Derelict mining companies will have to abide by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, NEMA, National Water Act and all other environmental legislation. How will the abandoned mines adhere to these Acts? There is a lot of non-compliance by these abandoned mines and the communities suffer from the mine dust, odour and river deposits. He noted that the Minerals Council raised concern about the premature closure of mines and its impact on unemployment.

Minerals Council SA response
Ms Mudau acknowledged the lack of response from derelict and ownerless mines. She agreed that the derelict mines have serious implications for society, the environment and operating mines. This issue requires a submission on its own and the Council is willing to come and report to the Committee on the status of the derelict mines. Derelict mines are an international issue. The United States of America has an Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Programme which deals holistically with derelict and ownerless mines. In Canada, the government also took the lead and managed the issue. Even in Australia. There is a difference in the way these mines are managed in South Africa and those jurisdictions. They have put in place necessary capacitor and properly resourced institutions to deal with the social, environmental and health risks. South Africa does not have a full programme that deals with the management of derelict and ownerless (DO) mines. The actual quantification of DO mines in South Africa was 6 000 at the time she was working in government. The current pace of the rehabilitation programme led by the Department of Mineral Resources is very slow. Only four or five mines are rehabilitated annually. The current focus by the Minerals Council has been on the asbestos mines in Limpopo. The asbestos mines are prioritised due to their impact on human health. With the rate that South Africa is at, we are not making a dent in the management of these mines.

The mining industry has a fundamental role to play various fields, including providing technical support, contribution of levies to government, partnership formation in order to make progress in managing mines. The mining industry is managing acid mine drainage in the Witwatersrand and other basins. The operational mines carry the cost of pumping and treating the excess water from DO mines, which is done in the spirit of the contribution of the mining industry. She could not deny the fact that some mines have operated before there was the necessary legislation and regulations. Most of the abandoned mines were created at the time when there were insufficient laws to compel them to mainstream mine closure planning in the manner done today. The Mine Closure Act of 1956 just required the owner of the mine to fence off the abandoned mines through a closure certificate. Mine closure planning and rehabilitation has become a very comprehensive field with stringent requirements to prevent environmental and societal challenges.

There are numerous fully funded activities within the Council to curb the scourge of illegal mining even though it is not its responsibility. It does this to ensure that the integrity of the mining companies is maintained. We take responsibility to act and support from a technical and financial point of view. The literature supports a transition to green energy options that would lead to more jobs in alternate industries. A just transition avoids unplanned and sudden mine closures. In terms of the mining closure processes, rehabilitation must be facilitated at the very initial stage. The Council has plans in place to deal with any socio-economic problems of the planned mine closure. If the transition is not planned carefully, there will be misalignment of the phasing out the coal mines and actual supply of coal. This must be carried out through a proper policy framework that lays out proper phase-out plans on coal reliance. The coal industry employs more than 90 000 people. She concluded that the Minerals Council has a number of activities to ensure careful management of the socio-economic implications.

Section 27 response
Mr Brodie replied that there are more than 30 million learners at public schools, which is a big vulnerable population in the country. We know that climate change hosts a lot of changes, such as extreme events. A sectoral adaptation plan will need to look at the vulnerabilities of the education sector. The education sector should not be exempt from the impact of climate change. Over 600 schools were closed during the KZN floods which had a significant impact on the learners. The education department did not cater for these learners, as was the case during the beginning of COVID-19. It is general knowledge that the Gauteng and Western Cape education departments struggle to place learners at schools because they are not able to cater for and keep up with internal migration. There will be vector-borne diseases induced by climate change. Therefore, DBE will need to cater for sanitation services.

Mr Brodie suggested there is scope for curriculum change to prepare learners for a low carbon economy. 'Climate change’ social impacts are going to affect learners and schools. DBE is integral towards addressing these issues. The inclusion of other departments, as per clause 19 of the Bill holds the Department of Basic Education accountable.

Just Share submission
Ms Robyn Hugo, Director: Climate Change, presented the Just Share recommendations:

Accountability within a timeframe - The Bill has very limited provision to hold emitters accountable. Just Share suggests that the provision must be made for additional violations (both criminal offences and administrative penalties), significantly higher fines, and much less leniency and other opportunities to delay compliance. The provisions must have timeframes and not refer to non-compliance to future potential regulations.
GHG activities - The Minister under Clause 23 must publish a list of GHG and activities likely to exacerbate climate change. The list of activities must determine quantitative GHG emission thresholds to identify companies to be assigned a carbon budget and required to submit GHG mitigation plans to the Minister.
Carbon budgets - The allocation of carbon budgets must be aligned with the carbon budgets with the national GHG emissions trajectory. Failure of companies to submit a carbon budget and GHG mitigation plan to the Minister, per Clause 24 must be considered a criminal offence. The company will therefore be liable to penalties per Section 49. b(2) of the National Environmental Management Act of 1998.

South African Medical Association (SAMA) submission
Dr Lwando Maki, WHO Regional Advisor for Climate Health Africa, said SAMA is a professional association for public and private sector medical practitioners and an independent, non profit company. SAMA is a member of the World Medical Association (WMA) representing 16 million doctors worldwide.

Recommendations to the Climate Change Bill.
Clause 1: SAMA called for clarity on the definition “person” if it refers to a juristic person and not a natural person which is most presumably the case in this Bill.
Clause 3(a) Integrated Management: SAMA is pleased with the principles of integrated management. It recommended that climate change and its impact on health can only be addressed through an integrated multi-sectoral approach.
(f) Vulnerable groups: It recognises the importance of climate justice as vulnerable groups (including the sick) are often affected the most.
(g) and (h) Cautious approach: SAMA argues that there is already sufficient evidence of the loss and damage due to climate change to inspire adequate response action by government. However, it advised that precautionary principle is not used to postpone action to address the climate crisis.
(k) Public Awareness - It recommends that climate change public awareness must be extended and targeted to doctors and other health professionals, in alignment with the World Medical Association policy on climate change.
Clause 7(1): Alignment of policies: SAMA highlighted that the inclusion of the mandate to “review and if necessary revise, amend, coordinate and harmonise their policies and measures, programmes and decisions..” does not clearly emphasise the role of the Minister in aligning all intra/inter-ministry policies to accommodate climate change. Harmonisation of policies should be confined within ministers but should cut across different ministers, sectors and non-state actors.
Clause 7(2) Advisory role: SAMA is committed to participating actively and working collaboratively with the government.
Clause 8 Provincial and municipal forums: It supports the engagement and planning of action with communities which are at the frontline of the climate assault and most affected.
Clause 10, 11, 12: PCC: SAMA requests participation in the PCC.
Clause 14: Wide stakeholder engagement - SAMA urges the government to enable the active participation of health sector representatives in needs assessments as well as in the creation and implementation of climate change response plans at the local and national levels. The government must thoroughly engage residents of municipalities.
Section 18(3)(c) Best available evidence: SAMA fully supports the IPCC’s 6th assertion that evidence of climate change as a threat to human well-being and planetary health is unequivocal.
Section 18(4)(e) Community inclusion: The inclusion of local communities in engagements should always be present, consistent and continuous.
Chapter 5: Greenhouse gas emissions and removals - The national GHG emissions trajectory needs to be stringent.

Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) submission
Mr Glen Malherbe, CAIA Policy Analyst, said CAIA supports the Bill that will allow for maximised effective mitigation at the lowest cost to the economy, coordinated planning for adaptation and economic growth and the benefits it in turn brings to the country.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Policy matters for integration - CAIA continues to engage on the development of carbon tax and suggested that a single holistic mitigation system must be put on the table for consideration. It called for legislative timeline alignment to international processes.
Flexibility - CAIA calls on National Treasury to provide for increased flexibility of the carbon offset policy. The carbon budget allocation lacks policy certainty.
Presidential Climate Commission - There is uncertainty about representation. The appointed experts are not informed by business, labour and civil society positions.
Mitigation - It needs to recognise that more time is required for transitioning where transitioning is still feasible.
Local government capacity and accountability - The Bill requires more streamlined policies and planning tools to reduce duplication of risk identification and adaptation planning and to drive alignment across municipalities and provinces.
Sustainable Development - CAIA acknowledges that the principle of Sustainable Development (SD) is critical, however, the Bill must not regulate SD as a whole. The Bill must rather contextualise that climate change action is an integral part of SD.
Just Transition - CAIA supports the need for a just transition but the Bill must ensure that pathways are developed and engaged on to determine the best approach for the country, to ensure that the most beneficial outcomes socially, environmentally and economically.
Carbon budgets and SETs - It recommends that the carbon budgets must be aligned with IPCC activities. The Bill must formulate a principle that includes that sectoral emissions targets (SETs) cannot be simultaneously allocated with the carbon budgets.

Discussion
Ms Mbatha was happy about SAMA recommending the raising of public awareness which is very important for behavioural change. Is your public awareness according to a bottom-up health promotion strategy? Does public awareness cover those who cannot read and write? What about the blind? Is SAMA affiliated with the Health Professions Council of South Africa? She commended the work by SAMA on climate change, water pollution and environmental related allergies. She commended the work done by CAIA because the chemical industry has a major negative impact on the environment. How does CAIA intend to decrease GHG emissions in South Africa? Are your affiliates registering storage with the Department of Health as hazardous chemical storage? Do they comply and have material safety data sheets for chemicals they keep in storage? What is your take on the chemical storage at the United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) warehouse that affected the environment at KZN during the riots? According to NEMA, a polluter must pay through rehabilitation. But when rehabilitation starts there is already a huge impact on the community and animals.

The Chairperson was pleased with the SAMA input on the impact of climate change on human health, such as diseases caused by rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. SAMA must come and brief the Committee on the impact of pollution and sewage and the status quo of societal diseases. How best do you think the Department can impose penalties? Why does SAMA want to be included in the PCC?

Responses
Ms Robyn Hugo of Just Share replied that NEMA already provides for personal director liabilities and revoking of licences in certain circumstances. NEMA provides for penalising exceeding carbon budgets. The Climate Change Bill can cross-reference NEMA.

Dr Maki welcomed the invitation for SAMA to present on the impact of climate change on human health. SAMA has public awareness activities with its members. It works at the trickle down grassroot level by trying to educate SAMA doctors through forums on the policies of the World Health Organisation, Public Health Association of South Africa, WMA and Climate Change Bill. SAMA also offers specialist training where members can share the impact of climate change in their working areas. SAMA advocates for evidence-based and scientific research.

SAMA supports people who cannot read or write by asking them before an event how best they can be accommodated. SAMA will then offer extra support. He would be heading the WMA delegation representing 16 million doctors at COP 27 in Egypt and would be on a panel discussion speaking about the impact of climate change of health. He extended an invitation to that to those committee members that will form part of the COP 27 delegation. He emphasised that women are highly impacted by climate change health wise. There is clear evidence about health and climate together with social dynamics that women deal with such as not having access to education, having limited reproductive health rights and gender based violence.

SAMA is available to offer an extensive submission on the impact of pollution due to mining on human health. Climate change is related to mining through air quality, with statistics proving that air quality is responsible for numerous deaths through pneumoconiosis, asbestosis and silicosis. Air pollution is responsible for 25% of lung cancer deaths and 43% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 25% of ischemic heart disease and 24% of strokes. He added that 62% of climate related deaths are related to cardiovascular events. People inhale pollutants which can cause direct damage and cause inflammation and stress within the respiratory system. Therefore, increased air pollution leads to an increase in the rate of people having cardiovascular events. Floods are the most common natural disasters that have direct impact on human health, such as injuries from landslides and drowning, and water borne diseases. Drought also leads to increase in malnutrition and heat stress. Climate related direct damage costs will affect the health sector. SAMA represents a specialist grouping with certain skills that can be of value to the PCC. It is also a part of global organisations that are conducting the latest research on climate preparedness and adaptation. SAMA would provide health expertise and evidence-based health research to the PCC. We are the only organisation in South Africa to ever be part of WHO Civil Society Group to Advance Climate and Health. SAMA has members on the Health Profession Council of South Africa who get appointed by the Minister of Health.

Ms Deidre Penfold, CAIA Executive Director, replied that CAIA is very prominent in Africa about awareness raising. We promote ourselves from an African perspective and represent 90% of the chemical industries in South Africa. She added that a lot of investment is out of South Africa due to numerous reasons articulated in the submission.

Mr Glen Malherbe replied that CAIA is tasked with the responsibility to engage with its members and consolidate their issues to all government levels on matters of policy, legislation and regulations. Therefore, it contributes to the reduction of GHG emissions through policy engagements with government. CAIA operates along the entire value chain, including offering services to manufacturers, logistics companies, waste managers and so forth. CAIA believes in an integrated approach and inclusion of any sector within the chemicals value chain.

CAIA members recognise the importance of mitigating GHG emissions through clean development mechanisms. There are many companies within CAIA that are continuously implementing voluntary GHG emissions projects. CAIA places a strong focus on the need for legal compliance within its membership. It is further driven by the implementation of the responsible care initiatives and management practices that are independently audited. CAIA is fully aware of its legal obligations, hence it conducts risk assessments and EIA before it breaks ground. There are a lot of provisions to allow the development under environmental, waste and water authorisations. The Department of Employment and Labour has promulgated the hazardous chemical agents regulations which makes it mandatory to have safety data sheets in a workplace.

United Phosphorus Limited (UCL) is not a member of CAIA. It is a very regrettable situation in terms of socio-economic and environmental impacts. He believed that there are still investigations underway on its compliance.

BioWatch submission
Ms Vanessa Black, BioWatch Advocacy, Research and Policy, said BioWatch supports a Climate Change Bill that addresses the urgency of a coherent response for a just transition that includes building climate resilience in the food system through systemic change.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
BioWatch suggested that the Bill requires an additional principle for its interpretation and application in Chapter 1. The Bill must address a need for an intersectoral approach to transform food and agricultural systems using agro-ecological approaches to mitigate climate change. The Bill needs to have a regenerative and rights based approach to develop climate, economic and environmental justice. The Bill must outline conflict resolution mechanisms to ensure that the objectives and principles of the Act are realised in support of a just transition that enables a good life for all South Africans, in the context of climate resilient and zero-emissions development.

Conference of the Parties of UNFCCC (COP 27): DFFE briefing
Ms Mamogala Mashala, Acting Director-General: Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, briefed the Committee on COP 27 preparations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held from 6 to 18 November 2022 at Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab Republic of Egypt.

South Africa has secured a pavilion at the COP which is a result of partnerships between DFFE, the National Business Institute (NBI) and the business sector. The events at the pavilion will be hosted by civil society representatives, the PCC, the business sector and international organisations.

Key issues presented by South Africa at the pavilion include:
(a) More mitigation action by developed countries as opposed to backtracking
(b) Just Transitions for Africa, starting with energy transitions and finance for Africa
(c) Significantly increased funding for adaptation under the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA)
(d) Resolving the multiple options for addressing loss and damage
(e) Advancing negotiations on the post 2025 finance goal.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs submission
Ms Noloyiso Walingo, General Manager: Economic and Environmental Services, presented

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Clause 15: The Bill needs to be specific on the mitigation-related needs and response assessments as well. A clear reference has to be specifically identified to act as a guide to provinces and municipalities on mitigation work.
Clause 15(3)(b) Local Mitigation Plans: Clarity should be given on the sectors forming a large part of mitigation work at all levels of government yet constitutional mandates only limited to national.
Clause 15(4) Sectoral mainstreaming of Climate Change: The development of a climate change implementation plan should not depend on the existence of an environmental implementation plan in the province. Emphasis should be placed on the need for mainstreaming climate change responses in all sector plans including the environment sector in the province.
Clause 15(4) Provincial Climate Change Implementation Plans: Endorsement and approval of provincial climate change implementation plans which requires a multi-stakeholder and intergovernmental structure.
Clause 15(5) Municipal role: KZN sought clarity on the role of categories of local governments. It called for support of municipalities lacking capacity and resources for climate change responses.
Clause 16 and 17: The Bill does not reflect the urgency to respond to the climate crisis and it needs to provide for clear and timeous government emergency responses.
Chapter 5 - It called for clarity on the role of provinces and municipalities on GHG emissions and removal to avoid confusion and for setting of boundaries.

Humane Society International/Africa submission
Mr Tony Gerrans, Executive Director, said the Humane Society supports the Bill as climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world, with dire consequences for humans and animals.

Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Expected impacts and urgency: There are no timeframes or deadlines for obligations such as assigning carbon budgets to emitters, SETs and to compel the Minister to set an emissions trajectory. It suggested that the time frames should be set taking “best practicable environmental option” as required by section 2(4)(b) of NEMA.
Interim National GHG Emissions trajectory - Trajectories are insufficient, therefore it reiterates arguments put forward by the Centre for Environmental Rights.
Enforcement Provisions - The current Bill is toothless and does not provide any mechanisms for enforcement, except by the creation of an offence for failing to provide a GHG mitigation plan. Emissions beyond a certain point should be made an offence.

City of Cape Town (CoCT) submission
Councillor Traverse Le Goff said CoCT welcomed the much-needed Bill and it is committed to action on climate change and to evidence-based future planning for a more resilient city. The City has integrated climate change adaptation and mitigation, and resilience into the new term of office Integrated Development Plan (2022-2027). This draws on the City of Cape Town Climate Change Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan (approved by Council in 2021).

General Recommendations for Climate Change Bill
Definition of Low Carbon - The Bill refers to "low carbon" however it is not defined and therefore too vague and progress against this commitment cannot be measured. It suggested the replacement of low carbon to carbon neutrality as per Paris Agreement.
Climate Fund - CoCT suggested an establishment of a climate change adaptation grant fund that can be accessed by municipalities to address the budgetary gap.
Carbon sequestration - The Bill must recognise the provisions for carbon sequestration because there is significant potential for carbon sequestration through biodiversity, ecosystem conservation and restoration.
Just transition - CoCT called for strategies and plans on a just transition. It said that just transition is used in a slightly unusual way in the Bill as it seems to refer to a broad social change rather than a shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy with social impact.

Discussion
Ms Mbatha said the Zebediela Citrus Estate destroyed a lot of its oranges related to climate change and post processing problems. Tongaat Hulett Ltd was affected by COVID-19 and climate change, which affected many small sugarcane businesses. Farmers use a lot of pesticides in the plantations which has negative environmental impacts. How does BioWatch prepare smallholder farmers in cases where pesticides are used? What do you do with livestock that die because of drought and floods? How do you assist such farmers? Thugs vandalised a Groblersdal’s smallholder farm fruit and vegetables. How do you help emerging farmers in these instances? Fruit and vegetables spend time at the port of entry after harvest, which impacts the farmers. Farmers in KZN could not transport milk during the catastrophic floods. The Minister assisted the farmers by appointing a helicopter to transport the goods from point A to B because road infrastructure was damaged by climate change.

Mr Bryant asked CoCT if its submission was on behalf of its environment portfolio or on behalf of CoCT in general. He requested the full submission from the CoCT.

Ms Weber agreed with Ms Mbatha on her questions to BioWatch. Everyone who made submissions today is doing incredible work with valuable inputs. The municipalities need to be capacitated. It is fine that CoCT is working on solar and water, but that must be done in every municipality. In all three government spheres, we need every portfolio to be capacitated to deal with climate change.

Ms Gantsho highlighted that mandatory education on climate change is necessary for Members of Parliament and all workers in the governmental spheres. We should not confine it to government, but the education must be stretched to all of society at large. Many people do not understand climate change concepts and its impact.

The Chairperson said that the BioWatch input is crucial and important. It is very clear from the submission that the role of provinces and municipalities on GHG removal and mitigation is not emphasised in the Climate Change Bill. She agreed that there is a need for a provincial climate change response and mitigation plan. She asked the Humane Society to make a formal submission. She agreed that something has to be done with the agricultural systems because it is the poor people who get affected by climate change impacts. All affected government departments need to come and present to this committee on how they will improve and ensure that the Climate Change Bill does not become another unimplementable Act.

City of Cape Town response
Councillor Traverse Le Goff replied that the submission was on behalf of the CoCT and he believed that it was submitted by Alderman JP Smith. The Committee secretary would have the full submission on record. The document was submitted by City senior officials and it was approved by our climate unit leadership.

Ms Vanessa Black said the questions posed by Ms Mbatha are part of the reason BioWatch recommends the need to localise the food systems. A lot of policies have been focusing on upscaling people into export markets. Let us look at food sovereignty and security first. We need to ensure that hungry people are fed nutritious and good food. Local markets and traders can be supported through provision of facilities; appropriate technology to help the smallholders to get fruit to the markets and not long value chains; small-scale processing equipment and prevention of red tape. There are many issues around pesticides in South Africa. The legislation for pesticides regulations is very outdated. There is an urgent need to review such legislation so that the pesticides banned in Europe cannot be exported into the South Africa market. The spray drift of big commercial agriculture affects the water supply of local communities. Smallholder farmers do not need the pesticides because of the method of farming used. Agro-ecology is about increasing diversity and creating a balanced ecosystem. The mismanagement of water can lead to flooding. Increased removal of vegetation and hard surfaces (hard agricultural soils) lead to increased runoff and flooding.

It is very difficult to answer questions on land invasions and theft. She thinks it is because people are left out in society from land access and they are hungry. We have a hunger crisis in the country, hence we are advocating for inclusion of food systems in the Climate Change Bill. Adequate food is essential for children’s growth and development. If we do not address hunger in children and pregnant mothers, we are compromising our society’s future.

Ms Rose Williams, Director at BioWatch said that BioWatch has been doing low carbon footprint work with smallholder farmers. We have learnt so much from small farmers, from looking after the soil to climate-resilient crops. There is a lot of hope for small farmers, and we must look to them for future direction.

The Chairperson confirmed that CoCT had submitted its full written submission to the Committee. She was thankful for the submissions for enriching the public hearing process. We appreciate the complementary and diverging views. We will consider and respect all the views. Climate change mitigation and adaptation are beyond the capacity of government only. It requires an organised formation including business and society to perform an active role in moving the country to an inclusive and greener economy and society. The Committee had been reminded that we should not leave behind vulnerable groups of women, people with disabilities and socio-economic classes. We appreciate the inputs on development and social justice in reference to the Paris Agreement, stiffer penalties, public awareness, clearer timeframes, costing and funding, municipal capacity building, provincial mechanisms to improve transparency, disclosure of and access to information and climate education.

The meeting was adjourned.

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