South Africa, the G20 and Climate Change: from Brown to Green?

The G20 meeting which has just been concluded in Hamburg, dogged by protests, was originally intended by the German presidency to be a way of building momentum around climate action in the wake of the Paris Agreement; however, the election of President Trump, and his subsequent decision to pull the US out of the Agreement, changed the nature of the summit altogether. There was widespread trepidation that the political consensus developed in Paris in 2015 on climate action would be shattered by… Read moreSouth Africa, the G20 and Climate Change: from Brown to Green?

G19 strong on energy and climate change – action to follow

Surprisingly strong result on energy and climate from G20 summit, or more accurately the G19. Passed the first part of ‘Trump Test’, as Germanwatch put it in an excellent, detailed analysis. The 19 (including Russia and Saudi Arabia) recommitted to the Paris Agreement. Moving to action is part 2, and a detailed Climate and Energy Action Plan is a good basis. Only the US cites ‘clean’ fossil fuels – but won’t stop momentum of the energy transition, to a greener… Read moreG19 strong on energy and climate change – action to follow

Trump exit from Paris will hurt America most

On 1 June 2017, Donald Trump (DT) announced that his administration was withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement.  The world’s largest economy is taking no responsibility for US historical emissions, and instead  reneging on what his country had previously agreed. Trump’s exit is a deeply immoral, reprehensible act. The speech on the Rose Garden lawns is full of the illogical statement one has come to expect from DT (see good analysis in The Guardian). It continues to astound how unethical… Read moreTrump exit from Paris will hurt America most

Paris Agreement comes into force.

Today the Paris Agreement comes into force – thirty days after having been ratified by more than 55 countries prod for more than 55% of global emissions, the two-fold legal trigger required. In total, 97 of the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC have ratified the Paris Agreement domestically; a list can be found on the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement page. Below we have pulled together a number of articles from around the web to give you a clearer picture of what ‘entry… Read moreParis Agreement comes into force.

SA ratifies Paris Agreement

South Africa has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, it has joined the growing momentum to take climate action. 87 countries had ratified already, exceeding the requirement of 55 Parties – and on 5 October, the second ‘trigger’ of representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions was also met. Thirty days after these two triggers were met, the Agreement formally ‘enters into force’ – on 4 November 2016.   SA snuck in with its instrument of ratification… Read moreSA ratifies Paris Agreement

SA’s coal habit hurts carbon budget

SA will have to close either all its coal-fired power stations or Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plant by 2050 to stay within its carbon budget of 14 gigatonnes, Jesse Burton, a researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre, says. In any event, SA cannot build more coal-fired power stations if it is to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement to reduce its share of emissions of greenhouse gases to keep the increase in global temperatures below 2ºC above… Read moreSA’s coal habit hurts carbon budget

Development paths consistent with zero poverty and 1.5°C

The world faces the twin challenges of development and climate change. 2015 saw the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement (PA) on climate change.1 An IPCC special report on keeping temperature below 1.5 °C is being scoped, relating to the global temperature goal in the PA;1 at the same time, the imperative is to eliminate “eliminate poverty, in all its forms, everywhere”. 2 And those are not all the challenges we face – at global,… Read moreDevelopment paths consistent with zero poverty and 1.5°C

What might the Paris Agreement mean for South Africa?

What are the implications for South Africa of the Paris Agreement on climate change? Here is my initial take, following an earlier assessment of the contents of the Agreement The Paris Agreement is characterised by much broader participation than the Kyoto Protocol. Much more will be required for South Africa, together with all other countries, in terms of regularly communicating contributions. These contributions will be ‘nationally determined’, but subject to strong international review at the individual and collective level. This… Read moreWhat might the Paris Agreement mean for South Africa?

Paris Agreement: after climbing a great hill, many more to climb

Late on Saturday 12 December, a new Climate Agreement was adopted in Paris. Here is my take on the key elements. Be warned, it is a longish read – but then climate is a complex, super-wicked problem. And solving it is not easy. The key points are in bold … As Nelson Mandela said on his long walk to freedom: “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to… Read moreParis Agreement: after climbing a great hill, many more to climb