Michael Mabuyakhulu, KwaZulu-Natal: Sub-national governments are "eyes and ears" of climate action

Author:
Ilario D'Amato
6 December 2015

Michael Mabuyakhulu, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal

PARIS: This week at COP21, The Climate Group’s Climate TV interviewed Michael Mabuyakhulu, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, about the dual climate action needs the province has, as both part of a developing country and as a sub-national government.

The minister told Climate TV that the most important aspect of COP21 that he has seen is that developing countries have been “speaking with one voice”.

In the video he points out how developing countries are permitting themselves to express “issues of climate change and adaptation interventions”, something he says has made COP21 become “a defining moment".

On the province of KwaZulu-Natal’s hopes for COP21, Michael Mabuyakhulu outlined two indicators of success. “The first thing we want to see is a very concrete agreement emerging out of Paris. And that concrete agreement in our view should be agreed with regards to the reduction of carbon emissions to keep temperatures below 2 degree Celsius across the world.

“Secondly for sub-national governments, in particular in the developing world, is the whole issue of the commitment by developed countries to us for the US$100 billion global fund.”

The minister explains how the fulfilment of the fund is crucial for climate mitigation and adaptation in regions “where people are severely affected by drought”, as well as to help transition communities without access to electricity away from burning coal and wood toward clean energy. “These things are going to have a fundamental importance for the future.”

A “hybrid approach” to ensure developing countries don’t follow the high-carbon growth pattern of developed countries that includes “interventions in terms of poverty and sustainable development”, is the only way to “win this war”, cautions MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu.

He concludes the interview by stating that he is eager for an agreement from COP21 around carbon pricing. “For us sub-national governments this is of fundamental importance because we are the eyes and ears – we  are the implemetors. That is where things happen, at the local level.”

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