Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy says the second draft of the Climate Change Bill, aimed at reducing carbon emissions, is currently being debated at Nedlac.
Creecy said this when she led a debate on the Environmental Affairs budget vote in Parliament on Thursday.
"In line with our understanding that our climate change response has to involve all sectors of society, the second draft of our Climate Change Bill is currently being discussed and debated at Nedlac [National Economic Development and Labour Council].
"The bill aims to create a framework to implement the Vision 2030 call for a just transition to a climate-resilient and lower-carbon economy and society."
Creecy said once the second draft of the bill leaves Nedlac, it will return to the department for social partner inputs at Nedlac - business, government and labour - to be considered and incorporated into what will be a third and final draft of the bill.
This will then be forwarded to Cabinet for approval before being tabled in Parliament.
The objectives of the bill are to provide for a coordinated and integrated response to climate change, effective management of inevitable climate change impacts and to make a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations - all to ensure that economic and social development occur in an environmentally sustainable manner.
"Right now, such far-reaching change is hard to imagine. Society at large is worried about immediate issues of energy security, job losses and retrenchments.
"This means that while we debate the Climate Change Bill, we must of necessity also discuss the objectives and the process of the just transition itself and ensure that it takes place in an orderly manner. We must tread our future path towards 2050, while maintaining energy security and creating employment," Creecy said.
Colloquial on single use plastic products to be held by year end
At a pre-budget vote debate media briefing earlier in the day, the Minister told journalists that the management of waste, particularly single-use plastic products, is a matter that requires urgent attention.
The department is currently assessing single-use plastic products such as plastic carrier bags, straws, earbuds, crockery and cutlery, and will conduct various stakeholder engagements to find effective ways to prevent, divert and recycle plastic products. Creecy said a colloquial will be held before the end of the year.
Addressing Members of Parliament later in the day, Creecy said: "Our plastic bag regulations and the plastic bag levy are two mechanisms government has used to influence consumer behaviour and reduce littering. This is clearly not sufficient.
"We want to see consumers challenging their favourite stores, we want to see retailers challenging suppliers and we want to see suppliers coming up with real and sustainable solutions. With proper coordination and consumer action, voluntary change can be a sustainable and cost-effective solution."