The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has published the National Climate Change Bill in Government Gazette 41689 (Notice No. 636) for public comment.
The purpose of the Bill is to build an effective climate change response and ensure the long-term, just transition to a climate resilient and lower carbon economy and society. This will be done within the context of sustainable development for South Africa, and will provide for all matters related to climate change.
The Bill acknowledges that anthropogenic climate change represents an urgent threat to human societies and the environment, and requires an effective, progressive and well-coordinated response. It further highlights that, amongst others, anticipated domestic climate change impacts have the potential to undermine the country's development goals, and that responses to climate change raise unique challenges, thus requiring a legislative framework for the implementation of the country's national climate change response.
The National Climate Change Bills addresses issues related institutional and coordination arrangement across the three spheres of government namely national, provincial and local. It further highlights the need the spheres of government and entities, sectors as well business to respond to challenges of climate change. The bill further address the matters relating to, the national adaptation to impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and removals, and policy alignment and institutional arrangements.
The objects of the proposed Act are to:
Provide for the coordinated and integrated response to climate change and its impacts by all spheres of government in accordance with the principles of cooperative governance;
Provide for the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts through enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to building social, economic, and environmental resilience and an adequate national adaptation response in the context of the global climate change response; and to
Make a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system within a time frame and in a manner that enables economic, employment, social and environmental development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
Timelines are set in the Bill for the establishment by the Minister of a national environmentally sustainable development framework for achieving the goals of the proposed Act, set out national adaptation objectives to guide adaptation to climate change impacts, determine a national greenhouse gas emissions trajectory for South Africa and the greenhouse gas thresholds that will determine carbon budget liability.
Section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa states that everyone has a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being, and that all have the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generation, while allowing justifiable environmentally sustainable economic and social development.
A Series of Provincial Stakeholder Engagement Workshops at which all stakeholders and interested parties will be able to comment on the National Climate Change Bill will be hosted by the Department countrywide. Further arrangement are made to cover the remainder of the nine provinces. The Department will on an ongoing basis update the schedule for meeting in other provinces.
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs