South Africa: SA to Lobby for More Investment for Developing Countries At Cop26

South Africa will use the upcoming international climate change talks to lobby for more investment for developing countries to assist them in implementing their plans for a transition to low carbon emission economies.

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, said this ahead of the talks - known as the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) - scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from the end of this month.

Low carbon emissions economies require countries to transition from dependence on the use of coal-fired energy to the use of green energies such as solar and wind power.

Creecy said 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 more wealthier countries and other institutions.

This, she said, required those developed nations to make good on their financing commitments to lower income countries both now and into the future.

"COP 26 must re-establish trust between developed and developing nations by ensuring existing financing commitments are honoured. 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," Creecy said at briefing in Pretoria on Friday.

The Minister acknowledged that talks regarding financing will not be easy, bearing in mind differences in what both 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 [the] least developed countries to meet the challenges posed by climate change," she said.

The Minister, however, warned that the transition is expected to be a "just" transition, which takes into account the impact, which the reduction on coal dependency will 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 wellbeing of workers and communities in the transition is an absolute non-negotiable. 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."

Investment in climate change

She announced that South Africa, together with three other countries, has been selected to take part in the Accelerating Coal Transition Investment Programme, formulated by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).

The CIF has made an indicative amount of between $200 million and $500 million available to the country in grant financing to assist in the transition towards cleaner energy.

The actual funding, Creecy said, will be dependent on the kind of investment plan the country can present to the CIF.

She revealed that the plan would focus on the State's power utility, Eskom.

"Our government is in the process of setting up a high powered Finance Workstream, focusing on our Just Transition, which will develop this investment plan.

"We see the decision by the CIF as a small but important first step towards laying the foundation work for the broader financing programme of our Just Transition. The focus of this investment plan [will] be the Eskom energy transition, including repowering and repurposing of retiring coal plants and investment in new low carbon generation capacity," the Minister said.

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