President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on world leaders to take “bold action” in accelerating decarbonisation of energy systems.
The President made the call in a message he delivered vitually at the COP26 Energy Session on Thursday.
In his message, the President acknowledged that climate change undoubtedly presented a critical and urgent threat to humanity.
“This is so because it will have devastating consequences for our economies and societies if we do not take action now.
“There is no longer any doubt that climate change presents a critical and urgent threat to humanity.”
Accelerating decarbonisation of energy systems, he said, would involve harnessing new technologies to reduce the world’s dependence on high-emission fossil fuels, including unabated coal power.
“It requires that we move to more sustainable and cost-effective energy sources.
“While the energy transition is necessary for reducing global carbon emissions, this transition must also be fair and just,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said for many developing economies this required massive investment in alternative energy sources and other infrastructure.
“It requires substantial support for workers and communities throughout the coal value chain who stand to lose their jobs as well as their livelihoods.
“A just transition requires finance and support from wealthier nations to enable low- and medium-income countries to protect employment and to promote development.”
He said South Africa has committed to ambitious emission reduction targets.
Achieving these targets, he said, would require the transformation of its energy system at an unprecedented speed and scale.
He said this would include the decommissioning, repowering and repurposing of coal-fired power stations and the roll-out of renewable energy.
“But our ability to do so will be determined by the extent of support that we receive from developed economies.
“The Political Declaration that we announced this week with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union, represents an important breakthrough in this effort,” he said.
Through this partnership, an initial amount of $8.5 billion was to be mobilised over the next three to five years to support the country’s just transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient future.
He said this would enable South Africa to implement its ambitious goals and to develop a model for a just transition that was hoped can be used elsewhere.
“We are entering a brave new world bound together by our common destiny as humanity. We owe this to ourselves, to one another and to the future generations,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za