Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has published the draft National Climate Change Bill for public comment in the Government Gazette, her department said on Sunday.
"The purpose of the bill is to build an effective climate change response and ensure the long-term just transition to a climate resilient and lower carbon economy and society," the department said in a statement.
This would be done within the context of sustainable development for South Africa and would provide for all matters related to climate change. The bill acknowledged that anthropogenic climate change represented "an urgent threat to human societies and the environment", and required an effective, progressive, and well coordinated response.
"It further highlights that, among others, anticipated domestic climate change impacts have the potential to undermine the country’s development goals and that responses to climate change raise unique challenges, thus requiring a legislative framework for the implementation of the country’s national climate change response," the department said.
The bill was intended to:
- Provide for a coordinated and integrated response to climate change and its impact by all spheres of government in accordance with the principles of cooperative governance;
- Provide for the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts through enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change with a view to building social, economic, and environmental resilience and an adequate national adaptation response in the context of the global climate change response; and
- Make a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system within a timeframe and in a manner that enables economic, employment, social and environmental development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
"Timelines are set in the bill for the establishment by the minister of a national environmentally sustainable development framework for achieving the goals of the proposed act, set out national adaptation objectives to guide adaptation to climate change impacts, determine a national greenhouse gas emissions trajectory for South Africa, and the greenhouse gas thresholds that will determine carbon budget liability," the department said.
A series of provincial stakeholder engagement workshops at which all stakeholders and interested parties would be able to comment on the bill would be held by the department countrywide. Written inputs or comments could also be made to the department.