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Minister Edna Molewa arrives in Paris, France to participate in United Nations Climate Change Talks

06 December 2015


The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, has arrived in Paris, France to lead the South African delegation during the High Level Segment of the 21st Conference of Parties (CoP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), from 6 December to 11 December 2015.

In Paris the international community is expected to come up with a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively; and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a number of simple messages that say that Greenhouse gas emissions (GhG) rose more rapidly from 2000 to 2010 than in the previous three decades, growing by roughly 1.0 Gigatonne per year.

In addition, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report tells us that global emissions in 2030 will most likely be 14 Gigatonnes above the level that would be consistent with a 2-degree world.

The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report concludes that by 2050, Africa’s adaptation costs could rise to USD 50 billion per year, if global warming were to remain below 2 degrees C; and up to USD 100 billion per year for a temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius.

As part of the Africa Group, South Africa will negotiate for a Paris agreement under the Convention that is ambitious, durable, fair, and effective. The agreement must balance environmental and development imperatives, and ensure that global emission reduction efforts are adequate to keep global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius.

The deal must have adaptation at its core, and there must be an ambitious outcome on finance, technology and capacity building to support the adaptation and mitigation efforts of developing countries.

A key position of the Africa Group is that adaptation is a global responsibility. It is important to note that climate change impacts are being driven by global inaction on mitigation, the adaptation burden on developing countries is growing heavier. A Global Goal for Adaptation must therefore be part of the Paris Agreement.

South Africa has been instrumental in the negotiations leading to the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, particularly in developing countries.

South Africa will continue to do that because we understand and acknowledge that there are limits to adaptation, hence our support for Loss and Damage to be addressed in the Paris agreement. Addressing this issue must be done in a manner that gives assurance that the Warsaw International Mechanism will continue and be strengthened beyond 2017.

South Africa will continue to negotiate in good faith and do everything in its power to reach a deal those results in a strengthened and durable international climate change regime. A deal that ensures the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention, through an agreement that is applicable to all.

Paris presents a golden opportunity to build an ambitious and fair agreement that is effective, durable and strengthens the global approach.

For interviews with SA Delegation at COP 21 contact:

Eleanor Momberg
Cell: +27 83 400 5741 or

Zolile Nqayi on
Cell: +27 82 898 6483

For media enquiries contact

Departmental Spokesperson, Albi Modise
Cell:  + 27 83 490 2871