South Africa civil society urges the G20 to deliver on climate action

Media Release
6 July 2017

South Africa civil society urges the G20 to deliver on climate action

We urge G20 leaders at the 2017 summit in Hamburg to demonstrate their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement with a strong action plan on climate and energy for development.

SA Climate Action Network calls for a strong and comprehensive action plan and concrete steps towards urgently achieving zero-emission and climate-resilient economies. This should include initial low-carbon development strategies with concrete sectoral targets by mid-2018. We also call for measures to align financial flows and markets with the goals of Paris Agreement, including shifting investments away from fossil fuels and their subsidisation towards renewable, clean energy provision for all.

“Energy choices are directly linked to climate action. While efforts to transition away from fossils fuels to renewable energy must be increased, this process must be fair and provision made for workers currently employed in these legacy industries,” said Richard Halsey, Policy Researcher at Project 90 by 2030. “As we sit at the turning point of an era where progressive global leadership is defined by visionary and unified actions and not by singular, self-serving behavior, we must strive for loftier goals whilst achieving them with practical feet. Inaction is not an option. Tepidness is not an option. Humanity needs robust, ambitious and heroic commitments. Nothing short of urgent and unified action will preserve our fragile climate for the future generations.”

Fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out as quickly as possible and financing should instead be directed towards transforming energy systems and building resilience.

The G20’s Compact with Africa, championed by Germany, cannot be silent on the question of climate change. Promoting long-term investment in Africa’s energy and transport infrastructure has to be aligned with both the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030. It is no more difficult to make that explicit in the Compact than it is to include the demands on African governments to make a stable and predictable environment and combat corruption.

We – communities, governments, long-term private investors – we all need environmental, social and human rights standards included in every agreement to ensure sustainable outcomes from private sector investment.

With the unfortunate exception of the United States, whose withdrawal has been globally condemned, all members of the G20 are committed to ambitious action on climate in terms of the Paris Agreement. SA Climate Action Network calls on the other 19 leaders to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to the Paris goals by taking steps to implement it wholeheartedly, as the global civil society has committed to..

“The U.S. administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement was very short-sighted and irresponsible, walking away from a moral obligation to those who have contributed the least to this crisis and who will suffer the most is so unjust and morally wrong. It is an abdication of leadership by the U.S. which is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter and a serious serious retreat from the commitments made to the vast majority of the men and women from the Global South,” said GenderCC Southern Africa in a statement. “As women for climate justice we are more than determined than ever to forge forward and make sure that the Paris Agreement is operationalized to enhance human rights and gender equality and that climate action is fast-tracked to limit global warming and reach scientifically grounded global long term goals for reducing emissions to safer levels.”

At the C20 Summit last month, over 300 civil society groups from around the world urged the G20 to commit to firm and immediate action on global challenges like climate change, inequality and regulation of financial markets.

While market forces continue to push the global clean economy transition forward, ongoing political leadership is required to enable the transition to happen fast enough to avoid atmospheric tipping points that would lead to irreversible change. There is no time to lose.

For media queries, contact

Janet Kachinga
Coordinator, SA Climate Action Network
071 774 8210
jkachinga.can@gmail.com

Richard Halsey
Energy Policy and Research, Project 90 by 2030
021 674 5094/5
richard@90by2030.org.za

Bertha Chiroro
Project Coordinator, GenderCC Southern Africa-Women for Climate Justice
011 720 1437
bertha@gendercc.org.za

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