Bali: SA will do its fair share and adaptation fund breakthrough

Posted by Laura Grant on December 13, 2007
Posted in Green News

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Greenpeace and other NGOs organised a human banner message on a beach in Bali at the weekend. The image represented the world being washed away by climate change, with the words ACT NOW! – Image: Kelly Mavis, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licence

South Africa will take ambitious action to mitigate climate change that will be measurable, reportable and verifiable, environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said in a speech at the opening of the high-level segment of the UN’s climate change conference in Bali on Wednesday.

“South Africa will contribute its fair share towards our common responsibility for the future,” he said, adding that the climate change challenge was urgent and global and there was “no longer a plausible excuse for inaction by any country”.

The Bali roadmap for negotiations on a new climate regime to replace the UN’s Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, must “raise the bar for all”, he said.

Developed countries must reduce their emissions by at least 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, Van Schalkwyk said. This includes countries that have not ratified Kyoto, most notable of which is the United States, the world’s biggest emitter.

Under Kyoto the developed countries must reduce their emissions by at least 5 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012.

The new climate regime should also enable developing countries to “leap-frog to a low carbon-intensity growth path”, he said.

Earlier this week the minister announced a “breakthrough” deal on a multilateral adaptation fund to help vulnerable developing countries cope with the effects of climate change.

In a media statement, Van Schalkwyk described the deal as a major victory for the developing world. South Africa reportedly led 10 days of intense negotiations on this issue on behalf of 130 developing countries.

Under the agreement reached on Tuesday developing countries will have direct access to the fund – which will be worth up to $500 million a year by 2012, and is expected to grow exponentially beyond 2012, Van Schalkwyk said in a media statement.

The fund will be administered by an independent board, the majority of whose members will come from developing countries, the statement said. This aims to give developing countries a more direct and equitable say in how funds are prioritised and spent.

The adaptation fund was set up under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and was managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The fund had been criticised for being too difficult to access and for raising only paltry sums of money, the International Herald Tribune reports.

The fund’s money comes from a levy charged on transactions made through the Clean Development Mechanism, under which industrialised countries receive carbon credits for investing in sustainable projects in developing countries.

It will become operational next year (2008).

Source: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

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