Each year the Finance Minister Trevor Manual invites the South African public to contribute ideas for the Budget vote. South Africa is one of the countries that will be most negatively impacted upon by Climate Change, so this year the South African public is being urged to use the web to flood Trevor Manuel with tips on using the national budget as a means of reducing our country’s carbon emissions.
Project 90 by 2030, Urban Sprout, Activist!, forgood and 350.org are partnering to run a campaign to raise awareness of the potential for government to show vision and leadership by presenting a budget on February 11th 2009 which reflects its commitment to responding urgently to the evidence presented by Climate Change.
This campaign is called the: “Cut Carbon Tips for Trevor Campaign”
South Africa has been showing visible leadership in global climate negotiations and locally the South African Government has demonstrated willingness to engage all levels of South African society by setting up the Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) process between 2006 and 2008. The LTMS team presented its findings to Cabinet in July 2008 and the recommendations for a ‘required by science’ scenario were approved. The clearest signal of true commitment would be if these approved recommendations could be visibly supported with the country’s 2009 budget vote.
Together energy supply and use account for almost four fifths of South Africa’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The most recent report of the Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) found that in order to keep temperatures at safe levels, global emissions will need to peak and then decline to about 50 – 80% of current levels by 2050. More recent science tells us that the only safe level of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is at most 350 parts per million. We are at 387ppm currently.
Three broad areas are key to mitigation :
Energy efficiency . Greater efficiency can be achieved in industry, commercial and residential building and in transport.
- We need to change our fuel mix to be less dependent on coal. This means moving away from coal-fired electricity to other options. Renewable energy stands out as a truly sustainable option as long-term costs are low and it provides the greatest potential for job creation.
- We need to change our economy from one that rewards emissions-intensive industry to one that develops climate-friendly technology.
All three of these areas will require bold vision and leadership from South African government, business and civil society.
We recognise that in straight financial terms, renewable energy for electricity generation is still more expensive than dirty coal. But this formulation ignores the external costs of which climate change is the biggest.
The science is clear and we are seeing proof of climatic predictions much sooner than expected – natural ecosystems are already showing signs of being affected by global warming (and they absorb about half of global emissions), in the past year there has been an upward trend in the release of methane into the atmosphere which can be directly linked to melting of the polar ice caps, severe weather events are more frequent and are increasing in their intensity.
Members of the South African delegation reporting back from the international December 2008 Conference of the Party (COP 14) meetings held in Poznan, Poland expressed dismay at the disjuncture between scientific evidence and current global leadership in response.
It's time to invest in South Africa and invest in our future by moving away from coal-fired power and towards efficiency, clean energy and green jobs for all. Members of the public are urged to send their carbon-cutting tips to Trevor Manuel using his great on-line facility on http://www.treasury.gov.za/tipsfortrevor.asp or simply enter your tips into the form on this page and your recommendations will be presented directly to the office of the treasury.
Read More & View Some Green Tips for Trevor Here >>