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June 8, 2022

Climate Change Bill: CER calls for public hearings

Climate Strike September 2021, Cape Town | Photo: Chris De Beer-Procter
Climate Strike September 2021, Cape Town | Photo: Chris De Beer-Procter

Climate change, and the Climate Change Bill, will profoundly impact all corners of society and the economy, and it is important that all voices are heard in the shaping of this critically important law – especially the voices of youth and of women who are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change.

On 27 May 2022, the CER, on behalf of the Life After Coal Campaign, addressed a written submission on the Climate Change Bill to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. The committee had issued a call for public comments on the Bill in April, an invitation that appears to have been taken up by a multitude of civil society role players and individuals, both within the climate justice space and beyond.

The CER submission addresses various fundamental concerns about the Bill, including its lack of clear and meaningful emissions reduction targets, an overall lack of urgency and a failure to adequately ensure that all of the necessary organs of state are empowered and adequately mandated to play their roles in the necessary climate change response measures envisaged. The Bill also fails put in place a clear, strong, and enforceable mechanism to compel emissions reduction. The Bill ultimately needs to protect a number of important Constitutional rights which will be infringed if South Africa’s climate response is inadequate.

The committee now has the discretion to call for public hearings, a next step that CER and others are strongly calling for.

“A strong, clear and effective Climate Change Act will go a long way to achieving one of its primary stated goals: ensuring a just transition to a resilient, low carbon economy and society. The Bill as it currently stands does not do this, and we urge the committee to address our concerns and make the necessary amendments,” says CER climate advocacy lawyer, Brandon Abdinor.

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