NEGOTIATION POSITION PAPER 11
Negotiationsregarding global climate change were initiated in 1991. TheIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its initialassessment report in 1990, and the report emphasized on theimportance of global action in dealing with climate change (King etal., 2012). In regard to this, the United Nations FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was created in 1992 (Knaepen,2014). Through it, signatories submit their nationally distinctmeasures and policies for mitigating the issue. Being one of theparticipants, South Africa has taken part in all negotiations,besides hosting Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 in Durban in 2011.Within the UNFCCC, South Africa is categorized as a developingcountry (Annex II) (Knaepen, 2014). South Africa is also a party tothe Kyoto Protocol, which it endorsed in 2002. However, as adeveloping nation, it lacks objectives under the protocol (King etal., 2012).
Duringthe previous negotiations, South Africa took a center stage in givingits submissions. For instance, at COP 15 which was held in Copenhagenin 2009, South Africa dedicated itself in reducing its carbonemanation by 34 percent by 2020 and 42 percent by 2025 (Bodansky,2010). In order to achieve this, its condition was that the globalcommunity would provide support in terms of technology, finance, aswell as capacity-building. South Africa stated that it would steadilyshift to the employment of non-fossil fuel sources of energy in thelong-term. However, in the medium and short term, it will continueusing fossil fuels.
AtCOP 17 that was held in Durban in 2011, South Africa maintained itsposition on seeking stability between adaptation and mitigation, andclimate and development programs (Ahmed, 2013). It called for alegally binding international measure for maintaining temperaturesemitted from greenhouse gases below 2°C.It also called for the implementation of institutions which wouldoffer sufficient climate support to developing nations. SouthAfrica’s position at COP 19 remained the same, seeking a singlelegally binding set of rules for all countries, as well as itsacceptance. Based on these past negotiations, the current paperseeks to outline the negotiation position of South Africa on the newprotocol to the UNFCCC (COP 21) that will take place in Paris in2015.
Positionon Negotiation Topics
Theobjective of COP 21 is to attain a legally binding and worldwideconformity on climate change. The Convention’s main goal is tolessen emissions of greenhouse gases to limit the internationaltemperature amplification to 2°C(Sebastian&Tomas,2014). Signatories are called to submit their positions on the same,which will later be reviewed with the hope that a binding agreementwill be met in order to address the issue of climate change once andfor all. Asstated by Ms. Edna Molewa, South Africa’s Minister of EnvironmentalAffairs, the country will benefit if an agreement will be reached atCOP 21 (Duyck, 2013).
Thegeneral context for South Africa is to attain the eventual objectiveof the UNFCCC as stipulated in Article 2. With reference to this,South Africa holds that the contributions of the signatories mustmirror their entire efforts in addressing the issues of climatechange. Therefore, every nation’s contributions will be a bundle ofdedications, actions, targets, and efforts in different areasincluding adaptation, mitigation, transfer of technology, finance,and capacity building (South Africa, 2014). South Africa considersthat the initial step that should be taken is to set up a lastingobjective for mitigation building and reach the temperature goal of2°C.Parties should also confirm to the approved goal, besides consentingon the goals of finance and adaptation. On the matters ofcontribution, factors such as equity, science, capability, as well asguidelines established in the Convention should be considered.Contribution to mitigation should be driven by inventory andcorrespond to the already established regulations.
Negotiationsof the Kyoto Protocol focus on various issues including conformity byAnnex I nations (developed nations), participation in mitigationmeasures, as well as the financial mechanisms to be implemented.South Africa supports a “twin-track” procedure that involves morestrict emissions target for developed countries (strengthening Kyoto)(GreenTimes, 2011). Italso considers that developing nations should be supported to enablethem do their best both in mitigation as well as adaptation.Nevertheless, the country supposes that regional programs and keycompanies, particularly in the United States, are speedily applyingthe Kyoto spirit and attaining emission mitigation whilst boostingprofits and effectiveness. It provides anticipation in achieving thegoals stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCC.
SouthAfrica proposes various components relating to the mitigation whichshould be incorporated in the new protocol to the UNFCCC in order tobe legally binding. To start with, the implementation periods for allparticipants in their mitigation commitments should be five, ten, orfifteen years. Every party should suggest its target, commitment, andactions which are more ambitious. They should cover the periods 2020to 2025 rather than their earlier submissions of up to 2020. Thedomestically set commitments and targets should be accomplishedcompliant with mutually established criteria relating to three keycomponents: stringency, form and rules. This is in line with Article4.1 of the Convention which calls for commitments by individualparties (South Africa, 2014). Mitigation commitments will range fromemission reduction and actions. These must be measurable, verifiable,and reportable. Rules and enforcement mechanisms should be set toensure that parties comply with their commitments. They shouldencompass methodologies and postulations, the values of GWP used,sectors covered, as well as projected mitigation results. Besides,adaptation tools such as NWP, L&D, A&R, and NAPs should beused for implementing the commitments at COP 21.
Asstipulated in Article 4.3 of the Convention, COP 21 should consist ofuniversal global commitments to finance, capacity, and technologytransfer (Morgan, Dagnet & Tirpak, 2015). South Africa statesthat developed nations should abide by their commitments insupporting developing nations financially and technology wise. Thiswould assist in dealing with climate change. We observe thathistorically, developed nations were to blame for the presentemissions, and as a result, they should offer financial support todeveloping nations to deal with the double burden created. Itincludes adapting to the impacts of climate change as well assustainable development. The finance should focus on research anddevelopment, disaster response, as well as the construction ofemergency response systems (Morgan, Dagnet & Tirpak, 2015).
Owingto the fact that some nations such as China, which are rapidlydeveloping are releasing more greenhouse gases compared to developednations, it is important to understand the standards of equity aswell as equitable contributions and commitments (Bodansky&Diringer, 2015). The significance of common but differentiatedcapability and responsibility should be emphasized. However, adiplomatic formula should be employed considering differences innational circumstances. The European Union and the Africansignatories could work jointly towards a universal comprehension ofequity in the UNFCCC framework (Morgan, Dagnet & Tirpak, 2015).Domestic consultations could be used to supplement the process. SouthAfrica has proposed that minimum information should be structuredfounded on the Convention as well as its Article 4. Through this, astructure founded on the Convention that is suitable for climateregime, and that reflects universal commitment by the participantswould be obtained. Besides, more differentiated commitments by Annex1 nations as stipulated in Article 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5 would beachieved (South Africa, 2014).
SouthAfrica is seeking for a legally binding protocol. It would enforceall countries to abide by their commitments, as well as the targetsrequired by the convention and the Kyoto Protocol. Adopting a legallybinding protocol could also enforce developed nations to quantify anddeal with their historical liabilities to climate change. It couldalso result in the achievement of Article 2 that stipulates for theattainment of a common international commitment to limit temperatureboost by 2 °C beyond preindustrial levels (Bodansky& Diringer,2015).In reference to the Convention’s objective, COP 21 shouldcomprise of a universal commitment of lessening susceptibility to theunfavourable impacts of climate change.
Adaptationis more and more emphasized under the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC.Significant reductions in emissions are required in order to attainthe 550 ppm carbon dioxide stabilization levels in the atmosphere(Sebastian &Tomas, 2014). Nevertheless, it is difficult toeliminate climate change and global warming entirely, the reason whythe Convention aims at reducing and limiting emission and temperaturelevels respectively. Therefore, adaptation must be at the core ofmitigation by making certain that implementation procedures are putin place, and that the costs and needs rely on the aspiration to cutemission.
SouthAfrica considers that achieving a balance in dealing with the KyotoProtocol and the Convention is paramount. An inclusive and balancedimprovement of all components comprising the future regime in dealingwith climate change should be considered. This includes setting upand implementing procedures to illuminate the legality of such asystem as stipulated in the Convention. South Africa believes thatthe flexibility mechanisms highlighted in the Kyoto Protocol are notenough. Under Article 4, Annex 1 parties are given a certain level offlexibility in terms of adaptation, cooperation, and mitigation. Thereason is that these countries are going through a conversion processto a market economy (Morgan, Dagnet & Tirpak, 2015).
Ina nutshell, the policy objectives for South Africa are to manage theunavoidable impacts of climate change through effective programswhich maintain and advance the country’s environmental, economicand social response capacities. It also endeavors at making areasonable contribution to the international attempts to alleviatethe concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gas within a period thatallows social, environmental, as well as economic development.
IntendedOutcomes and Strategy
Reachingan agreement in the Paris Protocol and realizing its goals is inSouth Africa’s best interest. South Africa deems COP 21 as aconclusion of COP 17 that was held in Durban (Morgan, Dagnet &Tirpak, 2015). The country believes that reducing emissions tomanageable levels can result in economic development, especiallyamong developing nations. These countries are struggling with theimpacts of climate change that was in a large part historicallycontributed by industrialized nations.
SouthAfrica together with its main allies in the African continent, theG77, as well as nations such as China, Brazil, and India are pleadingfor a fair, comprehensive, and efficient climate change pact(Sebastian &Tomas, 2014).. They want a deal that favors bothdeveloped and developed nations. G77 is a lobby group representing133 developing nations. The potential allies are the developednations. South Africa is dedicated to developing a universal Africanposition and unity among developing countries in the negotiations.Taking into consideration the reality that the African continent isthe most impacted by changes in climate, it is paramount for membercountries to take one position.
Allparties should show their determination to strengthening adaptationis another outcome. South Africa calls for Africa and the EuropeanUnion to work together in order to establish adaptation plans as wellas execution activities which have been ignored in support ofmitigation plans (Morgan, Dagnet & Tirpak, 2015). The forthcomingnegotiation should meet the interests of all the parties withreference to finance mechanisms. Besides, the loss and damagemechanism which was established during the Warsaw negotiations toassist the most susceptible countries deal with the impact of climatechange. Founded on this, the mechanism should be a basis of financialsupport from the affluent nations. South Africa holds that althoughadaptation is a main concern, it will be insufficient. Accordingly,the creation of a committed institutional mechanism is paramount.Importance on convention principles, taking adaptation andimplementation as the central part, and linking them to finance andtechnology transfer to enable capacity building is fundamental.
Alegally binding agreement at the Paris Protocol is what South Africaaims to achieve. To attain this outcome, the country calls for a justagreement that guarantees an equity reference structure as well asfair sustainable development for all parties. To achieve this andmake sure that members abide by it it should be guarded rules whichhighlight the responsibilities of every party. It should also makecertain that emission reduction is adequate with regards toscientific knowledge (Bodansky & Diringer, 2015). However, SouthAfrica projects the impossibility of reaching a legally bindingagreement during the 2015 conference. Therefore, compulsoryparticipation as stated in the Durban conference of agreed outcomethat is lawfully enforced is paramount. It should be in the form of areview progress in attaining the pledged contributions.
Nevertheless,South Africa doubts the possibility of negotiations concerningquantitative state reduction targets. In addition, legal provisionsincorporated in the agreement will not necessitate approval by statelegislative bodies. Our expectation is that state preparation for theconvention will be founded on scrutiny of politically restricteddomestic measures and policies, possibly in the form of Copenhagenapproach of voluntary pledging.
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