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SA concerned about G8 climate change resolution

by Michael Appel
on 08 Jul 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Group of Eight (G8) Declaration on Climate Change lacked substance and is a step back in the fight against the global challenge, says Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

"South Africa has noted the G8 statement on Climate Change ...as it is expressed in the G8 statement, the long term goal is an empty slogan without substance," the minister said on Tuesday.

"While the statement may appear as a movement forward, we are concerned that it may, in effect, be a regression from what is required to make a meaningful contribution to meeting the challenges of climate change."

The minister said South Africa went to the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan, with the expectation that the eight major industrialised economies of the world would demonstrate leadership on the climate change issue.

"The long term global goal for emission reductions of 50 percent by 2050 falls below what is scientifically required to stabilise the atmosphere at a relatively safe level.

"To be meaningful and credible, a long term goal must have a base year, it must be underpinned by ambitious mid-term targets and actions and it should be based on an equitable burden-sharing paradigm," he said.

He highlighted that there are many countries in the G8 grouping that share South Africa's ambitious expectations, and it is regrettable that the lowest common denominator in the G8 determined the level of ambition in the G8 Declaration on climate change.

The ambitious package that South Africa is striving for has three elements, he said, which include emission reductions of between 80 - 95 percent to below 1990 levels by 2050.

Secondly, South Africa aims for absolute emission reductions based on mid-term targets of 25 - 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 for all developed countries.

"And finally, substantial deviations below business-as-usual baselines in some developing country regions by 2020 and in all regions by 2050," he said.

Mr van Schalkwyk said if the climate change is to display integrity, a long term goal must have a base year and it must be underpinned by clearly-defined mid-term targets.

Only on that basis can we all agree on the global goal, he concluded. - BuaNews

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