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26 August 2011

Call to rally behind climate awareness

With less than three months to go before the UN climate summit in Durban, the government has called on all sectors of society to help intensify the country's communication on climate change and its impact on the developing world.

"Cabinet has called for unified messaging, where all communication must be aligned to the theme, 'working together, saving tomorrow today'," Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Thursday.

South Africa is this year's host of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the country hopes to follow up on the relative progress made at last year's negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.

It is expected that approximately 20 000 people will attend the COP 17 event.

BASIC countries meet on climate change

In preparation for the conference, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and her International Relations counterpart, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, are to attend a ministerial meeting on climate change in Brazil this weekend, where discussions are expected to be held on the response to climate change by Brazil, China, India and South Africa.

Manyi said the group, which is also referred to as the BASIC countries, has been increasingly playing an important role in the climate change negotiations since the 2009 talks in Copenhagen.

Among the issues to be considered by the bloc will be what can be done to ensure a fair global regime for emission reductions, and financing for a global climate change response.

The conference in Durban takes place ahead of the looming expiry of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which bound nearly 40 countries to specific emission reduction targets. The Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in 2012.

A new climate green fund was agreed in Cancun to transfer money from the developed to developing countries to tackle the impacts of global warming, but no figure was put on how much money will go into it.

Nkoana-Mashabane "will engage with the group to further understand expectations of this grouping in the negotiations and solicit support from the group towards a successful COP 17 in Durban," the Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

The last meeting of the BASIC countries prior to Durban is expected to be held in China in October for a final coordination and negotiation strategy for the summit.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has approved the implementation of several solar water geyser roll-out programmes, with this week's meeting confirming that engagement with potential funders had already started.

Eskom was granted R1.5-billion by the National Energy Regulator of SA for the installation of 259 000 solar water geyser systems. To date, the number of installed units are 144 141 at a cost of over R750-million.

Source: BuaNews