Statement by South African Environment Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, at an event at COP-15 on Tue 15 December 2009. She was speaking at an event organised jointly by Brazil, South Africa, India and China. She spoke to the numbers announced earlier by President Zuma on ‘deviation below baseline’.
“South Africa recognises that as a responsible global citizen, we want to take more action, not only because we have a responsibility for future generations, but also because the science tells us that we are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. While we insist on the right to development, we will do everything within our capability to achieve our development and poverty eradication objectives in the most sustainable manner possible. Given our unique circumstances, we consider that sustainable development policies and measures, which are development-oriented actions that have the co-benefit of avoiding emissions, are particularly appropriate nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs). The eradication of poverty and dealing with the legacy of Apartheid are fundamental national priorities which require that we have the space, time and resources to develop. The country is already undertaking significant mitigation actions in relation to: energy efficiency in commerce and industry; mechanisms to support the roll-out of renewables and alternative energies; working towards integrated rapid transit systems; and the role out of solar water heaters, including for poor households. In this regard we recognise the recent grant from the World Bank in support of these activities. However, without financial and technology support, it will not be possible to do more than what we are already doing.
On 6 December, President Jacob Zuma announced that South Africa would undertake a range of nationally appropriate mitigation actions. The extent of these actions depends on support by developed countries. With financial and technological support from the international community, these actions will enable the country’s emissions deviate below the what we project business as usual emissions would have been in 2020, projecting forward from a starting year of 2003 – deviation by 34% below BAU by 2020 and by 42% by 2025. This level of effort would enable emissions to peak between 2020 and 2025, plateau for approximately a decade and decline in absolute terms thereafter. We have demonstrated, through our study of mitigation potential in the long-term mitigation scenarios and through our assessment of our nation’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, our willingness and readiness to mitigate our emissions and to take action to adapt to the impacts of climate change. “