Presidential Climate Commission releases its final recommendations on Just Energy Transition

The Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) Deputy Chairperson Valli Moosa. Picture supplied

The Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) Deputy Chairperson Valli Moosa. Picture supplied

Published May 22, 2023


South Africa's 5-year Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP) was unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November of last year, with Ramaphosa since requesting the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) to consult stakeholders and provide feedback on the plan.

The PCC has since held community consultations in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and the Northern Cape, where the bulk of SA’s power is generated, as well as consultations with youth, business, civil society, local government, organised labour and the religious community, all leading up to a national multi-stakeholder colloquium on the JET-IP.

This process culminated with the PCC submitting its final recommendations to Ramaphosa for government consideration regarding areas of consensus by the social partners on the implementation of the JET-IP, with the central message from the social partners being that the JET-IP remains an important platform for advancing the energy transition.

The PCC has taken into account the main points and suggestions that stakeholders have made throughout the whole engagement process.

The report, titled “Just Energy Transition Investment Plan - Stakeholder Perspectives”, summarises the views of those who had a hand in shaping the PCC's recommendations for the JET-IP, while the report “A Critical Appraisal of the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan - Recommendations of the Presidential Climate Commission” details the PCC's own suggestions.

Justice, or just transition, components of the PCC's recommendations came under serious scrutiny, as outlined by Shamini Harrington, PCC Commissioner and Chair of its Finance Working Group.

“Although the social partners highlighted varying concerns about transitional justice, many focused on issues of energy price, availability, and security, incentives, the pace and scope of decarbonisation, and the role of the state,” said Harrington.

According to Harrington, “the nature of private investment, the insufficient quantum of grants in the package, skills development and employment, corruption, theft, and vandalism were other issues that concerned many stakeholder groups”.

Dr Crispian Olver, the PCC's executive director, said, “Our recommendations once more call upon the need of a 'transition-capable' developmental state to navigate the complexities of transition and further underscored the urgency of capacity building at local government level, including funding to support electricity supply investments and mandates and integrated development planning and budgeting processes.”

In addition, the PCC urges the establishment of governance and oversight mechanisms for all transition funding and climate finance in order to monitor and track international commitments and an impact response investment plan.

This will be accomplished through the creation of an adaptation and resilience investment plan that prioritises areas like water and food security, agriculture and tourism.

Olver said, “We agree with many stakeholder views on the need to remain prudent on the scale of the country's foreign and domestic debt, the call for increases in grant and concessional finance, scaling up sustainable social ownership in renewable energy, and a coordinated industrial and financing policy.”

The commission recognises the legitimate concerns raised by stakeholders and has pledged to hold all partners accountable in addressing these during the implementation process.

This includes conducting additional work in areas like the overall quantification of just transition funding, the integration with the National Treasury budget process, and the creation of a government-led industrial policy in emerging areas like green hydrogen and electric vehicles.

The PCC is pleased with the government's assurance that SA’s future energy mix will be in line with the Just Transition Framework and designed to sustain investments, such as those prioritised in the JET-IP, and it reaffirms its backing for the plan's implementation while addressing the legitimate concerns voiced in both reports submitted to the president.

IOL Environment

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