S/Africa to lobby for investment at UN climate meeting – Minister

Developing countries will need more investment to assist them to implement their plans for a transition to low carbon emission…

Developing countries will need more investment to assist them to implement their plans for a transition to low carbon emission economies, and South Africa plans to take advantage of the forthcoming climate conference to lobby for funding, a cabinet minister said on Sunday.Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said this ahead of the talks – known as the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (CoP 26) – scheduled for Scotland at the end of October. 

She said low carbon emission economies required countries to transition from dependence on the use of coal-fired energy to the use of green energies such as solar and wind power.

Developing countries such as South Africa are unable to implement their climate change mitigation targets or fulfil their energy transition plans without “sustainable, cost-effective financing” from the wealthier countries and other institutions, she said. 

“CoP 26 must re-establish trust between developed and developing nations by ensuring existing financing commitments are honoured,” she said.

She added: “Equally important is to start the process for determining a new and more ambitious post-2025 finance mobilisation goal from developed countries for developing countries from a floor of US$100 billion per year.”

The minister acknowledged that talks regarding financing would not be easy, bearing in mind differences in what developed and developing nations believe is required to finance climate change mitigation plans.

“Although countries have committed to open and transparent discussions, the greatest challenge is expected to be finance issues where huge differences exist between developed and developing countries on the finance required for developing and least developed countries to meet the challenges posed by climate change,” Creecy said.

The minister, however, warned that the transition was expected to be a “just” transition, which took into account the impact which the reduction on coal dependency would have on communities and some businesses.

“A transition to a low emissions economy and a climate resilient society must be based on just principles. The well-being of workers and communities in the transition is an absolute non-negotiable,” Creecy said.

She added: “Vulnerable workers and communities across the globe, who bear no responsibility for the historical accumulation of carbon emissions, must be protected against the risks, and benefit from the opportunities presented by this transition, so no one is left behind.”

The UN climate conference is expected to run from 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow.