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Climate and Energy Policy
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The latest Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC states that human activities have already warmed the world by close to 1ºC (0.87) above the pre-industrial levels and that the difference between limiting the temperature rise to 1.5ºC and 2ºC is substantial. It will take every nation doing all that they can to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. Given that the scale of efforts needed is unprecedented, policymaking at global and national level is crucial.

What is the issue?

Sustainable economic growth in South Africa will be fragile unless climate change is addressed. Latest scientific findings indicate that while the impact of climate change will not be felt uniformly across the world, countries in the southern hemisphere and sub-tropics are set to experience the worst impacts of climate change, particularly in terms of economic growth.

Climate change is an unpredictable phenomenon. The impacts resulting from climate change, range from increased saltwater intrusion, droughts, flooding and damage to infrastructure. An average increase of 1.5ºC globally will likely see a higher temperature increase in South Africa. This could have a significant impact on our already water-scarce economy.

Science tells us that we only have 12 years to take meaningful decisions to address climate change. We need to change the way we produce and consume energy. To bring about this change, government needs to be motivated to develop legislations and policies for creating favourable conditions.

What are we doing?

WWF works to influence climate and energy policy towards a flexible and diverse energy system whereby international climate policy processes are sensitised to developing country objectives and domestically, government efforts on climate change have a legal basis in form of national and sub-national legislations.

How do we do this?

As part of a global network, WWF mobilises efforts to increase the ambition to address climate change internationally. Climate policy is negotiated based on the principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities. These principles drive the ambitions submitted by each country. We contribute towards stronger climate policy at the international level by advocating and mobilising for strong local action.

Domestically, we are seeing progress towards setting up a Climate Change Bill, but we need to see the implementation of climate policy into action.

In order to address climate change, we need to fundamentally change the ways that we produce and consume energy. In South Africa, WWF advocates for energy policy which is condusive to a low-carbon and just transition. We advocate for greater investment and policy support for the Integrated Resource Plan to shift away from fossil fuels towards a renewable energy.

Who do we work with?

Locally, we work with Government, business and civil society while internationally, we support the wider WWF network to raise global ambition on addressing climate change.

How did it start?

WWF’s Policy and Futures unit was established to explore the possibility of a new economy that advances a sustainable future in South Africa. The overall aim has been to promote and support a managed transition to a resilient future for South Africa’s people and environment and a crucial aspect of this includes our work on climate and energy policy.

What are the big wins?
  1. The 2015 Paris Agreement was a big win internationally to which many organisations contributed. We continue to work on increasing ambition over time.

  2. Mainstreaming of climate change issues at a policy level, as demonstrated through progress on the Carbon Tax and Integrated Resource Plan.

  3. South Africa’s recent Presidential Jobs Summit resulted in the establishment of a Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission to coordinate and oversee the low-carbon and just transition.