The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 by world leaders to address issues of climate change. All countries were mandated to develop an implementation plan of the Agreement called the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). South Africa has submitted a second version – improved NDC, which will be implemented between 01 January 2021 and 31 December 2025.
Climate change is a global issue, and it needs international corporation, which means all countries have to commit to addressing it. In addressing climate change and its impacts, SAFCEI believes that no one must be left behind, especially the communities in the global south.
Africa is the most impacted continent, and South Africa experience even worse climate conditions. Our society comprises more than 80% of faith communities, and it is those communities that SAFCEI is mainly concerned for. Climate change impacts include forcing communities to change their cultures and traditions, which require more adaptation plans and support and becoming resilient in a rapidly changing climate that worsens droughts and water scarcity.
While our communities still desire justice in social development, which includes addressing the lack of proper access to and expensive electricity, we are displeased that the South Africa NDC support the concessional finance in projects relating to infrastructure on energy efficiency. Concessional finance is another word for loans. Therefore, it is not morally right to consider concessional finance for communities that are not responsible for causing climate change.
The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, when he was speaking at the 2019 UN Secretary-General Climate Summit, he said, “a proposed 11 Billion US dollar Just Transition Transaction is being developed under the auspices of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team. The 11 billion dollars would consist of a blended finance facility and would be the largest climate finance transaction to date, having a significant emissions impact.” We hope this pledge will be part of the NDC implementation. NDC mentions that the “Planning for the decarbonization of the electricity sector advanced with the gazetting of an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in 2019, considering climate change mitigation amongst multiple objectives, and allocating large shares of the future energy mix to renewable energy technologies.”
Our government and Eskom need to remember that the new nuclear power is not part of the 2019 IRP; South Africa should be nuclear-free from 2025.
By Khulekani Magwaza, SAFCEI’s Energy and Climate Justice Coordinator.