British High Commissioner to South Africa HE Mr Nigel Casey hosted a reception on the eve of the opening of the South African Parliament. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - The UK government in South Africa has kicked off its latest campaign titled 'Road to COP26' with climate investments up to the tune of £200 million which will go towards mobilising private finance into green projects.

This comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched the "Year of Climate Action" initiative ahead of the much-anticipated international conference set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland later this year. At the conference, world leaders will gather to discuss solutions aimed at tackling the adverse effects of climate change.

Through this initiative, Johnson has encouraged all countries to review their emission reduction targets and aim a bit higher.

British High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Mr Nigel Casey, hosted a reception on the eve of the opening of the Parliament to celebrate the UK-SA relationship. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Pictured are the Cape Minstrels providing live music to guests. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)


He set out our priorities for the conference which include among other things protecting and restoring natural habitats and ecosystems on an unprecedented scale; embracing the large opportunities of renewable energy and accelerating the ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid car sales from 2035.  

At an annual event held in Cape Town in which British High Commissioner to South Africa Nigel Casey hosted ministers, their deputies, politicians and top business representatives, it emerged that up to £30m would be invested in Revego Africa Energy alongside Investec to create Africa’s first dedicated renewable energy yield to be launched on the JSE later this year.

Pictured is HE Mr Nigel Casey and his wife, Clare Casey, greeting guests. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Pictured is HE Mr Nigel Casey and his wife, Clare Casey, greeting guests. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)


This, the Embassy said, is in addition to £14 m already invested, backing greater BEE involvement in the clean energy sector.

Furthermore, a new Chevening Africa Climate Change Fellowship has been established. The fellowship includes a professional development course that will be offered to influential mid-career climate change professionals.

Pictured is Patricia de Lille (left) and Thuli Madonsela (right) at the reception on the eve of the opening of Parliament. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Pictured is Siya and Rachel Kolisi with guests. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)


"We recognise the particular challenges that South Africa faces and the need for a just transition. But without higher ambition from all countries, including South Africa, the 2 degrees global temperature rise target agreed in Paris will increasingly be out of reach. We are already helping clean technology in South Africa and are keen to support South Africa set out higher climate mitigation ambition. We also need to work to support ambition around adaptation, recognising the impact climate change is already having in Africa," a statement by the Embassy read.

It added: "This is no longer just a moral argument about choices that affect our children – it is an economic one: renewable energy prices have plummeted – energy can be produced cheaper than coal; the world is transitioning fast and consumers are driving sustainable choice; markets will demand products that are climate and environment-friendly; institutions representing $118 trillion of assets globally have endorsed recommendations around climate risk investment disclosures."
 
Meanwhile, lead sponsor, Virgin Atlantic, will also launch a new aircraft A350-1000 and mark their Year Of Climate Action by reducing their aircraft CO2 emissions by 30% by 2021 and offering new amenity kits with greener products that are single-use plastic-free.
 
Another partner, Diageo – Whisky Bar, has committed itself to act on climate change.

"... reducing the environmental impact of operations should be at the heart of any business objective and our spirits sponsors Diageo are leading the way, from water stewardship, carbon emission reduction, eliminating waste landfill, driving sustainable packaging to maintaining healthy ecosystems. A great example of this can be seen in Isipingo, KZN where Diageo are replenishing water back to the communities," the Embassy said.

Political Bureau