||The international debate over climate change is heating up, the more irrefutable evidence of global warming we see emerging. The overarching problem is well known to South Africans who follow the news; less understood – if at all - is this country’s responsibility for the world’s overdose of greenhouse gases. Like filthy laundry, it sometimes seems like a national secret that the economy we inherited from apartheid is so addicted to fossil fuel, and moreover that the post-apartheid government and corporate greenhouse gas emitters have made the situation much much worse.
South Africa is classified as a developing country in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect in February 2005. We are not subject to emissions reduction targets at this stage. But we will be in future, and looking ahead, officials and corporations – and even a few NGOs which should know better - are promoting the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a way to continue South Africa’s hedonistic output of greenhouse gases, and earn profits in the process.