Saturday, April 2, 2011

A climate white paper for South Africa

The Department of Environment Affairs has announced that it hopes to rush a white paper on climate change through Parliament in time for COP17 in Durban later this year.

"The policy statement of the green paper stated that, in achieving its climate change response objectives, South Africa would ensure “the prioritisation of mitigation interventions that significantly contribute to a peak, plateau and decline emission trajectory, where greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions peak in 2020 to 2025 at 34% and 42% respectively below a business as usual (BAU) baseline, plateau to 2035 and begin declining in absolute terms from 2036 onwards”

It helps to remember that these targets came from a SCENARIO study, the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios. One thing about scenarios is that they do not constitute a plan, merely set out the limits on future possibilities. Scenarios never ask questions like "Is it practical?" or "Is it economic?"

But now the Department has turned the scenarios into plans - and guess what, they aren't practical and they certainly aren't economic. Heaven forbid that we should rush acceptance of these crazy plans through Parliament just because we are hosting a conference.

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