*Reposted with permission from National Business Initiative in partnership with Business Unity South Africa and Boston Consulting Group.
Why do we need a Just Transition in South Africa?
In response to the growing threat of climate change, countries around the world are figuring out how to decarbonize their economies, in line with recommendations from the scientific community, to net zero emissions by 2050.
South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the Paris Agreement. As an energy and emissions intensive middle-income developing country, it recognizes the need for it to contribute its fair share to the global effort to move towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the need for recognition of its capabilities and national circumstances.
To maintain our competitiveness in a future low carbon world, and to build resilience to the predicted effects of climate change, South Africa needs to decarbonize its economy too.
What is a Just Transition?
As a developing country facing extreme poverty, inequality and unemployment exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa has an opportunity to align decarbonization plans with economic recovery efforts to attract the foreign investment and finance we need to fund and manage a Just Transition.
A Just Transition for South Africa must ensure that the transition to a low carbon economy is conducted in a way that serves to address present and historical inequality, creates jobs, relieves poverty, restores our natural systems to build resilience, and, critically, leaves no one behind.
What is the Climate Pathways project for a Just Transition in South Africa?
In order to develop and manage a truly Just Transition for our country, we need to develop a robust and well researched base of knowledge to inform policy and planning. In line with this effort, the National Business Initiative (NBI), in partnership with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has launched a project to collectively develop a view of what the decarbonization pathways could look like for the South African economy together with the South African private sector and other relevant stakeholders from government, labour and civil society. This body of work has shown that it is indeed possible to reach a net zero emissions economy by 2050 if we start now.
The team has started by developing decarbonization pathways for the Power, Mining, Petrochemicals and Chemicals sectors. They (National Business Initiative (NBI), in partnership with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)) are also currently working on the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use as well as the Transport sectors.
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