The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established in 1992.
It has been ratified by 194 countries that recognize the necessity of constructing a sustainable developmental path. States meet every year to formulate international regimes that should govern this transition.
These gatherings are popularly referred to as COPs (Conferences of the Parties).
The most recent COP (20) was hosted by PERU in December 2014, and the next one will be held in France later on this year.
This year’s COP is very significant because states have to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). These are documented commitments from all states outlining their plans on reducing global emissions.
The Department of Environmental of Affairs has issued a notice inviting all citizens to various INDC consultation sessions. These will take place in all nine provinces and are open to the public.
The main aim of these meetings is to provide citizens with an opportunity to make inputs on government’s negotiating position for this year’s COP.
We welcome this new approach to climate change and environment policy development.
COSATU has always advocated for inclusive decision-making and genuine grassroots participation in public policy formulation.
The federation will participate in these sessions and raise the following critical issues.
First, the importance of fairness in negotiations, which places primacy on the principle of ldquo;common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilitiesrdquo;.
Developed countries are accountable for most of the global emissions. Thus, they must provide resources (financial amp; technological) for both adaptation and mitigation in the less developed nations.
These highly industrialized states should also commit to higher levels of emission reductions.
Second, we have always argued that the global accord must be ambitious. It must support the goal of confining the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C by 2100. The Africa group supports this range because climate change has more adverse consequences in less developed regions.
Thirdly, this agreement must be legally binding and backed up by clear sanctions or penalties for transgression.
Lastly, the development of a low-carbon political economy must be based on the principle of a just transition. According to us, a ldquo;just transition addresses both the unemployment crisis and the ecological crisis.
We also have to ensure that the development of new green industries does not become an excuse for lowering wages and social benefitsrdquo;.
It also means transforming the patterns of production, investment, consumption and ownership in the political economy.
Capitalism is the primary cause of climate change; therefore, one cannot address this global challenge without constructing a new developmental model.
COSATU’s structures will participate in these various consultative sessions.