Civil Society Mobilises to Urge SA Government to Update NDC to Align to 1.5°C

  • The Centre for Environmental Rights, along with many other civil society organisations, urges Cabinet to adopt an update on South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Climate Agreement that is aligned with the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

This means adopting a target that is more ambitious than both the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment’s March 2021 proposal, and the June 2021 Presidential Climate Commission recommendation.

An open letter, signed by 110 individuals and organisations under the Energy Governance SA network banner, urges President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Cabinet to ensure that South Africa’s NDCs under the Paris Climate Agreement meet the required target of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

On 30 March 2021, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, released a draft Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) update for public consultation. One of the resounding messages to come from the consultation that took place over the following months was that South Africa can afford to, and therefore must, adopt a more ambitious NDC – much depends on it.

In written submissions, the Centre for Environmental Rights argued that South Africa has an obligation under international and South Africa law, including the South African Constitution, to take all reasonable measures to protect its people from the impacts of climate change.

The government’s draft NDC Update proposes that greenhouse gas emissions be limited to a range of 398 to 440 Mt CO2e.

After considering technical modelling evidence, the Presidential Climate Commission released a recommendation in June that the proposed range be reduced to 350 to 420 Mt CO2e. This recommendation was submitted to President Ramaphosa on 1 July 2021. It is due to be considered by the Cabinet this week.

The final NDC Update will be submitted to the United Nations ahead of the 26th UN Climate Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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