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Minister Barbara Creecy launches South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution

30 Mar 2021

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has launched the updated draft NDC for public consultation

The updated draft NDC, the cornerstone of South Africa’s climate change response, was approved by Cabinet on 24 March 2021 to be released for public comment. It is South Africa’s commitment in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement to contribute to the global climate change effort. All Parties to the UNFCCC are updating their NDC’s in the run-up to the 26th international climate change conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021. 

Under the Paris Agreement, all parties are required to deposit NDCs every five years.  South Africa deposited its first NDC with the UNFCCC in October 2015, committing to keeping national greenhouse gas emissions within a range from 389 Mt CO2-eq for 2025 and 2050. 

South Africa remains committed to addressing climate change based on science, equity and sustainable development. Similarly, the present updated NDC draft seeks to balance the three structural components of mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation/support requirements. 

The latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that more urgent and rapid reductions in emissions are required by all countries.

The UNFCCC has found that the current global effort is not sufficient to avoid dangerous climate change, and all countries are in agreement that more needs to be done, faster. 

The updated mitigation NDC proposes a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions target ranges up to 2030, with the 2025 target range allowing time to fully implement the national mitigation system, including those elements contained in the Climate Change Bill. It will also allow space for the implementation of IRP 2019 and other key policies and measures, as well as the national recovery from Covid_19.

The 2030 target range (398-440 Mt CO2 e q) is consistent with South Africa’s fair share, and also an ambitious improvement on our current NDC target. The upper range of the proposed 2030 target range represents a 28% reduction in GHG emissions from the 2015 NDC targets. 

Eskom recently released a call for proposals to repurpose Komati Power Station in Mpumalanga with photovoltaic panels and battery storage. Currently, the utility is conducting feasibility studies on repurposing other power stations scheduled for decommissioning including Hendrina, Grootvlei and Camden Coal Power Stations 

In February this year, the Presidential Climate Change Commission representing government, business, civil society and organised labour met for the first time to discuss how the country develops a just transition from our current high emission economy to a low carbon climate resilient economy and society. To do this we must ensure those who are currently dependent on the coal value chain do not carry the transition burden.

Accordingly, the Commission will advise government on ways to unlock new technology, new investment and above all new jobs as we meet our commitments in terms of the Paris Agreement.

The first South African adaptation communication in line with the Paris Agreement outlines five adaptation goals, articulates efforts to be implemented and associated costs for a time period of 2021 to 2030. The adaptation communication will enable support for key sectors that are affected by the impacts of climate change, including human settlements, agriculture, water and energy. It will also affirm the leadership role which South Africa has played in the international climate regime on adaptation.

The updated draft NDC also contains a section on South Africa’s support requirements as a developing country. This includes the costs of both mitigation and adaptation measures and defining the country’s goal for accessing international support.  

With regard to the support requirements for a developing country such as South Africa, the draft updated NDC addresses not only the cost of mitigation and adaptation measures but also outlines the international finance accessed thus far for climate change programmes. While South Africa has accessed about USD2 billion a year in 2018 and 2019, the draft updated NDC proposes access to four times the amount annually by 2030 to meet adaptation and mitigation needs.

South Africa’s updated NDC targets are aligned with planned policies and measures to provide opportunities for accessing large-scale international climate finance to fund low-carbon infrastructure, and also to fund the just transition.

The launch of the updated NDC is the start of a consultation process that will consist of a number of virtual consultations until the end of May 2021 with other government departments through the inter-governmental committee on climate change (IGCCC), broader stakeholders through the National Committee on Climate Change (NCCC) and a number of targeted virtual consultations with interest groups and representative formations including business, labor, civil society, the agricultural and energy sectors.

Direct consultation will be held with the provinces, while written inputs can be submitted to the Department by 30 April 2021.  

Following the integration of inputs from stakeholders, the updated NDC will be tabled with Cabinet for approval before being deposited with the UNFCCC ahead of COP26.

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