Minister Molewa delivers public lecture on climate change at Johannesburg University (UJ)
The Department of Environmental Affairs is responsible for the protection and management of South Africa’s natural resources in a manner that fosters sustainability and creates a healthy living environment for all the citizens of the country. To this end, the department adheres to and promotes strong environmental governance in order to address the environmental and development challenges that confront our communities.
Recent evidence indicates that human activities are leading to the increased accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, which are altering the earth’s climate patterns at unnatural rates. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that global average temperatures rose by 0,6 °Celsius over the last century, and that “most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities”. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that transport energy use and CO2 emissions will increase by more than 50% by 2030 and more than double by 2050.
The severity of potential impacts and the threat of climate change have prompted concern and action at national and global levels. The most conspicuous policy step has been the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to initiate a long-term process of reducing global GHG emissions.
As business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos noted in 2000, “climate change is the greatest global challenge facing humankind in the 21st century”. Increasing economic growth in the near term will increase emissions of CO2 and other GHGs, and this will intensify demand for environmental protection.
The automotive sector is a major source of C02emissions (30% contribution in industrialized economies of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] and about 20% worldwide in 2009). Domestically, C02 emissions contributed approximately 500 million tons of carbon dioxide, from only 118 million tons in 2007. Further, South Africa is the 13th largest global emitter of C02 and the largest on the African continent.
Projections indicate that emissions from vehicles will grow significantly, due to the global fleet growing at a rate of about 16 million vehicles per year since 1970, and by 2025 is expected to reach one billion. Energy demand for transportation has been projected to grow by 2,5% per year between 1999 and 2020, a higher pace than is expected for energy demand overall.
The automotive industry is increasingly aware of the need to lower the carbon emissions of vehicles. The World Business Council on Sustainable Development’s Mobility Project identifies the need to “drastically reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector” as one of its “grand challenges”.
South Africa has also recorded some milestones since the hosting of COP 17 in Durban:
- We have a National Climate Change Response Policy that charts the course for actions that are both developmental and transformational.
- A set of Long Term Adaptation Scenarios (LTAS) are being developed, under plausible future climate conditions and development pathways.
- We are also working hard on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Extensive work has been done, jointly with business and industry, to analyse the emission reduction potential in key economic sectors, and to understand the social and economic opportunities and impacts of reducing emissions. This work will lead to the establishment of desired emission reduction outcomes per sector, and carbon budgets for companies.
- The National Green Economy Strategy provides the strategic directive to grow economic activity in the green industry sector, so as to attract investment, create jobs and improve competitiveness. It also provides the strategic direction for transitioning existing economic sectors towards cleaner, low-carbon industries with sustained socio-economic benefits and low environmental impact.
We are also hard at work as a country to align our programme with the vision of the National Development Plan Vision 2030.
By 2030, South Africa hopes to have sliced our energy demand in half through technological innovation, good behavioral practice and sheer public commitment to more efficient, sustainable and equitable energy use.
By 2030 we hope to have made rapid progress towards a carbon-neutral electricity sector. By 2030 it is hoped South Africa will have a low-carbon public transport system that makes everyday use of private vehicles an unnecessary extravagance.
By 2030 our houses, offices and commercial building will no longer be energy drains, energy sources- supplying electricity to communities through smart meters and smart grids. These are just some of the goals laid out in Vision 2030. It also includes targets on emissions reduction, air quality standards and the like, with the ultimate aim of transitioning to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and society.
The public lecture is aimed at heightening awareness on the issue of climate change and the action citizens, business, civic societies and government agencies can implement to reduce the impact of climate change in South Africa. This is being explored to augment other awareness raising avenues that government and other responsible corporate citizens are employing to demystify climate change.
Minister Edna Molewa, will deliver a public lecture on 14 September 2015 at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) aimed at heightening awareness on the effects of Climate Change and the steps citizens, business, civic society and government agencies can take to reduce the impact of climate change in South Africa. The lecture is a build up to the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris from 30 November 2015 to 11 December 2015.
The public lecture entails a high level address Minister Edna Molewa on Climate Change and University of Johannesbur's head of the Solar Car programme. With the advice of Ministry and the Climate Change branch, other speakers from other government departments, academics from institutions of higher learning such as the universities, CSIR, HSRC and NGOs can also participate in the Public Lecture. The Minister will lead the session, supported by other senior managers from the Climate Change branch and will later allow audience participation through a question and answer session which provides an opportunity for for enriching knowledge to information thirsty students as well as sharing ideas.
The Environmental Affairs' green car and the university’s solar car will also be on display, together with exhibition information material on the Climate Change programme. All the necessary resources will be made available by the university whilst the department would only be required to fund the catering.