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Message by President Ramaphosa at COP26 Energy Session

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

There is no longer any doubt that climate change presents a critical and urgent threat to humanity.

This is so because it will have devastating consequences for our economies and societies if we do not take action now.

Bold action must start with accelerated decarbonisation of our energy systems.

This involves harnessing new technologies to reduce our dependence on high-emission fossil fuels, including unabated coal power.

It requires that we move to more sustainable and cost-effective energy sources.

While the energy transition is necessary for reducing global carbon emissions, this transition must also be fair and just.

For many developing economies this requires massive investment in alternative energy sources and other infrastructure.

It requires substantial support for workers and communities throughout the coal value chain who stand to lose their jobs as well as their livelihoods.

A just transition requires finance and support from wealthier nations to enable low- and medium-income countries to protect employment and to promote development.

In South Africa, we have committed to ambitious emission reduction targets. Achieving these targets will require the transformation of our energy system at an unprecedented speed and scale.

This will include the decommissioning, the repowering and the repurposing of coal-fired power stations and the roll-out of renewable energy.

But our ability to do so will be determined by the extent of support that we receive from developed economies.

The Political Declaration that we announced this week with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union, represents an important breakthrough in this effort.

Through this partnership, an initial amount of $8.5 billion will be mobilised over the next three to five years to support South Africa’s just transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient future.

This will enable us to implement our ambitious goals and to develop a model for a just transition that we hope can be used elsewhere.

We are entering a brave new world bound together by our common destiny as humanity.

We owe this to ourselves, to one another and to the future generations.

I thank you.