US Intent to Withdraw from Paris Agreement no excuse for delays in South Africa
The US withdrawing from the Paris agreement will delay the transition and could lead to temperatures peaking at higher levels, with concurrent climate change impacts on millions of people
Even in a developing country like South Africa it is becoming clear that the transition to a low carbon society is inevitable
President Donald Trump announced last night that he would begin the process of withdrawing the United States from the historic Paris Agreement, the world’s first global plan to address climate change.
The historic agreement, approved in December 2015, commits nearly 200 countries to pursue all efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C to stave off some of the worst impacts of a warming planet.
Even in a developing country like South Africa it is becoming clear that the transition to a low carbon society is inevitable. Shifts in international geopolitics will only determine the pace of that transition and at what level temperatures will peak.
The US withdrawing from the Paris agreement will delay the transition and could lead to temperatures peaking at higher levels, with concurrent climate change impacts on millions of people, but it cannot stop the economic transformation that is already underway.
Ramping up South African efforts to combat climate change will also help to address our development challenges through building new industries in the low carbon sector and increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities to extreme weather events and other climate change impacts.
Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa: “The onus is now stronger than ever for South Africa to take control of its own destiny and to plan and implement a just transition to a low carbon economy. We know that per unit of power new solar and wind power stations now offer electricity at cheaper rates than new coal power stations - no decision made in another capital should undermine our commitment to our nation’s future wellbeing.”
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Practice Leader: “The Paris Agreement is the world’s collective response to tackling climate change. But the transformative power of the Paris Agreement lies in the targets that it triggers, and nations must hold each other accountable for their promises.
“Fortunately, the Paris Agreement is bigger than any one nation or any one government. We can still achieve the promise of Paris, but we have no time to lose. Countries around the world must seize the opportunity to unleash this potential, invest in renewable energy that eliminates harmful carbon pollution, and build economies that are more resilient, inclusive and prosperous.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).