Minister commits to deliver on climate change targets
Johannesburg - South Africa plans to address the impact of climate change by reducing carbon emissions by at least 43 percent in the next decade while a series of strict measures will also be put in place to avert pollution by the country's mines.
This is contained in a delivery agreement document signed by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica on Thursday. Several Cabinet ministers are also in line to sign agreements over the next few weeks that outline the government's 12 outcomes to improve performance and service delivery.
As part of the agreement, Sonjica together with provincial MEC's responsible for the environment as well as other stakeholders in the delivery chain of government, undertook to prepare strategies to help South Africa cope with the imminent climate change impacts and reverse the rising trends related to pollution and ensure proper and better management of the environment. South Africa is ranked among the top 20 greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters and it is the highest emitter within the continent.
According to the agreement, the department will have to move with speed to finalise the national climate change response policy which identifies sector GHG reduction targets and necessary action plans. Ten sectors had been identified for climate adaptation plans in the fields of forestry, tourism, biodiversity, human settlements, land and social development and fisheries.
Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, said earlier this week that the delivery agreements, which is a negotiated agreement between the key partners (government ministers and stakeholders), was an extension of the performance agreements signed in April between President Jacob Zuma and ministers.
On Thursday, Sonjica said all stakeholders, especially MEC's, who were close to the other two spheres of government, would be tasked with ensuring that all the deliverables were achieved at all municipal levels. One of the tools that will be used to ensure that performance was properly evaluated and the agreements were met, would be for government departments to begin to do their work in a "business-like manner".
Also identified in the document is a need to roll out energy efficient interventions to rescue the country's troubled electricity reserve margins. "Energy security is a huge challenge and appropriate incentive schemes need to be introduced as part of the interventions in this sector," it said.
Another option would be an emigration to renewable energy sources to the levels as high as 10 000 Gw/hour by 2014 with the plan to up the country's energy efficiency by at least 12 percent by 2015.
Sonjica highlighted the need for the involvement of provincial and local government as well as private partners and public entities for the "effective realisation" of the deliverables of the agreement.
What needed to be understood about the agreement process was that government was not targeting anyone, she said, adding that questions on what would be done if the plans were not met were not relevant. "The plan is trying to address the issue of (being) efficient and how things could be done differently and in a more business like manner. It is part of the whole overhaul of government."