South Africa’s Minister in The Presidency Trevor Manuel has recently been appointed as joint chairperson of the Green Climate Fund, which happens to be given the job of coming up with a finance system to assist developing countries get accustomed to climate change.
Manuel, who heads the South Africa’s National Planning Commission, is going to chair the Green Climate Fund alongside Mexican Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero Arroyo and Kjetil Lund, state secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.
The Green Fund was created soon after an agreement was signed at the 2010 UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico. The master plan was to start up a new institution to be able to set in motion international action when it comes to addressing climate change.
The fund comprises of a 40-member committee and is commissioned to raise and distribute R674-billion (U$100-billion) a year by 2020 in order to safeguard poor countries against the influences of climate change and be of assistance when it comes to low-carbon development.
The committee will get together four times in 2011 to put together a written report on the fund. The report will be presented to around 190 countries due to attend the UN climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, in December this year.
“The high level of interest among governments in adding to the design process can be described as a demonstration of the truly amazing interest among parties within the Green Climate Fund,” said UN’s Framework Convention for Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres. “Parties have put forward skilled and recognized individuals from the areas of finance and climate change.”
The funds is going to be raised by way of public and private sponsorships, and additionally through a system of environmental taxes. The South African government’s proposed carbon levy is an example of an environmental tax.
Penalties for polluters
The South African government is contemplating a tax of R75 ($10.63) per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. In accordance with the government’s suggested “polluter pays principle”, they would like to take advantage of the carbon tax to cut back South Africa’s greenhouse emissions at the same time making certain that polluters are penalised. The country is looking to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.
“Carbon emissions have to be priced,” said Manuel. “The indisputable fact that you can pollute the atmosphere and never pay for that pollution has to be one of the most manifest market failures.”
South Africa is to a great extent dependent on coal as well as being the world’s 14th largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Committed to cutting emissions, the country intends to penalise companies which include state power company Eskom, along with other companies in dominant industrial sectors such as metals, mining and petrochemicals that operate with coal, which are classified as the most significant carbon emitters.
A world of experience
Manuel has vast practical experience and knowledge when it comes to dealing with global development. He has served on the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Finance in 2010 in addition to being appointed UN special envoy for Development Finance in 2008.
He chaired the 2007 G-20 summit and was previously a member of former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s 2004 to 2005 Commission for Africa.
In 2000 he chaired the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s board of governors, not to mention the bank’s development committee from 2001 to 2005. He was also one of two UN special envoys to the 2002 Monterrey Financing for Development summit.