By Mathew Carr
Nov. 12-13, 2021 — Glasgow: One of the big deals of the COP26 talks in Glasgow last week was provision of $8.5 billion of supposed climate finance to South Africa to switch away from coal toward renewables.
But as with many things climate “action” … it turns out to be somewhat of a pretence.
Only about $300 million of the $8.5 billion should be framed as real climate finance (not that there’s a clear definition yet) — the rest is loans, according to a person familiar with the situation. Developing nations need $5.9 trillion by 2030 to save the climate.
But …just as disturbing …Britain, France, Germany, the United States and European Union got in an ugly fight about who would take the praise for “helping South Africa out”… the anger related to who would announce / announce it first to the reporters in Glasgow and beyond, the person said.
An EU spokesman declined to comment, saying “we do not comment on comments other people make.” See EU Commission document, below.
Now, the loans ARE concessionary … ie not paid back until after 2030, I’m told from the well-placed source. But they will need to be paid back.
The lack of real support has been a continued complaint here in Glasgow as climate deaths mount around the world and the migration crisis is set to worsen.
The number of climate migrants is seen plunging 80% should lawmakers urgently put in place policy to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, according to a World Bank report from September. But it’s fallen on deaf ears..
Without policies to aggressively reduce emissions and protect vulnerable people, there may be 216 million climate migrants by 2050, according to the bank’s updated Groundswell report on internal climate migration, which includes projections and analysis for three new regions, namely, East Asia and the Pacific, North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It builds on the novel and pioneering modeling approach of the 2018 Groundswell report, which covered Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
Rich countries that have mostly caused the climate crisis need to get more real about helping countries struggling with the wealthy nation mess – adaptation finance is needed, especially.
Don’t just saddle emerging countries with debt on top of climate disasters … or even worse … try to sell them natural gas.
Poor countries are already going into additional debt because they don’t want their people to fall into drought-induced starvation, for example. The nerve, right? When you’ve got no money in the bank, that’s what a government does to save its people – it borrows, said one negotiator.
Indeed, I spoke with four negotiators who privately concede the #COP26 talks ARE effectively greenwashing. “It’s a joke,” said one.
Greta was right.
Mark Carney, former Bank of England governor, had the audacity to invoke Greta and say it’s not blah. See this: “The core message today is that the money is there, the money is there for the transition, and it’s not blah blah blah”, Mr. Carney told delegates during a COP26 climate finance event. See link below.
But I say that if you are selling debt or offering credit lines, say so. Don’t pretend it’s something else.
Also, don’t allow the sale of non-additional carbon credits.
It’s all getting just so depressing.
The transparency regime and other rules coming out of Glasgow today do provide some hope. So the next few hours will be key.
I’m trying to find out more. Will let you know if I hear back.
New York Times take:
For years at global climate talks, developing countries have said that they need more financial help from wealthy nations to speed up their shift away from fossil fuels.
Now the world is about to get a major test of how that might work in practice.
At the Glasgow climate summit on Tuesday, South Africa announced that it had secured commitments for $8.5 billion in financing over the next five years from Britain, France, Germany, the United States and European Union to help install more clean energy, accelerate the country’s transition away from coal power and cushion the blow for workers who may be affected by the shift.
“This is a big deal,” said Jesse Burton, an energy policy researcher and senior associate at the University of Cape Town and E3G, a research group that focuses on climate change. “It’s a major test of whether wealthy nations can help developing countries embark on a just transition away from coal.”
South Africa, the world’s 15th-largest emitter, relies overwhelmingly on coal, which supplies 87 percent of the nation’s electricity. While the country has pledged to reduce its overall carbon dioxide emissions between now and 2030 as part of global efforts to tackle climate change, it faces enormous obstacles in doing so.
Carney in the news, link: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1104812
South Africa establishes a historic international partnership to support a just transition
2 November 2021 – 2:15pm
President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, Tuesday, 2 November 2021, joined other leaders in announcing a historic partnership with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union, to support a just transition to a low carbon economy and a climate resilient society in South Africa.
In preparation for COP26, South Africa submitted a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce domestic carbon emissions to within a target range for emissions of between 420 CO2-eq and 350 CO2-eq by 2030. This revised target is compatible with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and represents our country’s best effort to confront climate change, which will have a devastating impact on sub-Saharan Africa without large-scale mitigation and adaptation efforts.
Through the Political Declaration issued today to establish this partnership, partner countries will mobilise an initial $8.5 billion (R131 billion) over the next three to five years through a range of instruments, including grants and concessional finance, to support the implementation of our revised NDC through a just transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy.
The highly concessional finance that will be mobilised through this partnership will accelerate investment in renewable energy and the development of new sectors such as electric vehicles and green hydrogen. This will provide a significant boost to investment and growth while ensuring Eskom can access resources to finance repurposing of coal fired power-stations due for decommissioning over the next 15 years.
Welcoming this partnership, President Ramaphosa said: “Climate change is an existential challenge that confronts us all, and South Africa is committed to playing its part in reducing global emissions. The partnership that we have established today is a watershed moment not only for our own just transition, but for the world as a whole. It is proof that we can take ambitious climate action while increasing our energy security, creating jobs and harnessing new opportunities for investment, with support from developed economies.”
Bold and ambitious actions are required from all countries to confront climate change and South Africa has consistently argued that developed economies must support a just transition in developing economies. Today’s Political Declaration represents a first-of-its kind partnership to turn these commitments into reality, and a model for similar forms of collaboration globally.
At the heart of this partnership is the importance of a just transition, which includes support for workers and communities affected by the transition away from coal and enables the creation of quality green jobs. For the transition to be just, decarbonisation must be implemented in a manner that promotes and sustains employment, livelihoods and economic inclusion for historically marginalised communities and sectors of our society. A joint taskforce will be established to take forward the partnership over the coming months.
Political Declaration on the just energy transition in South Africa
Declaration from the Governments of the Republic of South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, the Republic of France and the Federal Republic of Germany, and the European Union.
1. Recognising the need for accelerated actions towards the goals and objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement, including the long-term goals on mitigation, adaptation and finance, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on our countries, our people and the environment;
2. Noting that in order to limit the impacts of climate change, the international community needs to collectively halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve global net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, while strongly reducing other greenhouse gas emissions;
3. Underlining the consequent urgency of decarbonising energy systems by increasing energy efficiency, and by accelerating the retirement of coal power and the deployment of renewables;
4. Acknowledging that sustainable financing from developed countries, multilateral institutions and investors is required to enhance support for South Africa’s transition;
5. Emphasising the necessity of a just, equitable and inclusive transition for workers and affected communities so that all are protected against the risks and benefit from the opportunities presented by this transition, and no one is left behind;
6. Confirming that the process of transition needs to be based on the full involvement of organised labour and business in targeted programmes of reskilling and upskilling, creating employment and providing other forms of support to ensure that workers are the major beneficiaries of our transition to a greener future;
7. Acknowledging that South Africa faces significant development challenges, including poverty, inequality and unemployment, which have been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic;
8. Recognising that South Africa requires a transition that is just, especially as there are several important sectors of its economy that may otherwise be negatively affected by such a transition, including mining, energy, manufacturing and transport;
9. Welcoming, in this context, South Africa’s submission of an enhanced, ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution that strengthens the country’s contribution to the adaptation and mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement;
10. Recognising the progress made by the Government of the Republic of South Africa – as well as leadership from Eskom, organised labour, businesses, civil society, and local governments – towards the net zero aspirations set out in South Africa’s Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy;
11. Noting South Africa’s intention to decommission and repurpose or repower coal-fired power stations, invest in new low-emission generation capacity such as renewables, increase energy efficiency and pursue green industrialisation such as manufacturing using green technology and a shift to the production of electric vehicles;
12. Embracing the opportunities for industrial innovation to create quality green jobs, increase renewable energy generation and drive sustainable economic growth for a resilient and net zero South African economy;
13. Recognising the unprecedented opportunity for South Africa to become a leader in the just energy transition, and the importance of global collaboration;
14. Recognising also the need for long term cooperation, commensurate with the timeline for South Africa’s just energy transition; and
15. Acknowledging the commitments of developed countries to provide support, including finance, to developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts;
16. Establish an ambitious long-term partnership to support South Africa’s pathway to low emissions and climate resilient development, to accelerate the just transition and the decarbonisation of the electricity system, and to develop new economic opportunities such as green hydrogen and electric vehicles amongst other interventions to support South Africa’s shift towards a low carbon future.
17. Establish an inclusive task force comprised of South Africa and international partners, to enable:
a. The accelerated decarbonisation of South Africa’s electricity system to achieve the most ambitious target possible within South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution range to the extent of available resources;
b. South Africa’s efforts to lead a just transition that protects vulnerable workers and communities, especially coal miners, women and youth, affected by the move away from coal;
c. South Africa’s nationally determined efforts to successfully and sustainably manage Eskom’s debt, define the role of the private sector, and create an enabling environment through policy reform in the electricity sector, such as unbundling and improved revenue collection;
d. Local value chains (including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to benefit from new areas of economic opportunity; and
e. Opportunities for technological innovation and private investment to drive the creation of green and quality jobs as part of a prosperous low emission economy.
18. Subject to concurrence on the investment framework, and in line with budgetary procedures and consensus on the use of funds and terms on which finance may be provided, mobilise an initial amount of approximately $8.5 billion over the next three to five years through a combination of appropriate financial instruments, which may include but is not limited to multilateral and bilateral grants, concessional loans, guarantees and private investments, and technical support to enable the just transition, with a view to longer term engagement.
19. Explore additional sources of financing and mobilise or include additional international partners, to further support South Africa’s ambition.
20. This partnership is a demonstration of the willingness of both developed and developing countries to cooperate on a vital challenge facing humanity.
Annex: Taskforce Action Plan
Over the course of the next 12 months, the taskforce commits to carrying out the following plan.
1. Within six months:
a. Pursue the political dialogue on the just transition and provide a leader level update on the advancement of the partnership;
b. Determine the scope of supported actions;
c. Outline terms of financing taking into account the joint commitment to enable a just transition in South Africa;
d. Identify initial sources of financing for the first phase of a broad-based just energy transition brought forward by South Africa in the electricity and coal mining sectors, and appropriate financing options for initiating the development of the electric vehicles and green hydrogen sectors;
e. Assist South Africa to structure sustainable financial and technical support within the broader transition to a low emission economy; and
f. Set up coordination platforms with development finance institutions and key stakeholders to further develop the conceptual approach and leverage additional technical and financial support towards their most impactful uses.
2. Within a calendar year:
a. Develop a full programme of work for this partnership on the basis of an investment plan for the just energy transition of the South African government, including support to address the social and economic impacts;
b. Provide a leaders’ level update to review progress;
c. Identify potential financing instruments and policies that will act to improve Eskom’s long term financial sustainability;
d. Work to address South Africa’s longer term funding needs to lower emissions across all sectors of the economy; and
e. Identify how to leverage further financial resources including domestic resources to that effect.
(Updates with EU no comment, climate migrant data, forecasts; Smooths language)