Sustainable Development Policies and Measures: Institutional Issues and Electrical Efficiency in South Africa

"Climate change is a global problem requiring the cooperation of all countries in order to be addressed effectively. This article outlines and proposes a pledge by developing countries to implement sustainable development policies and measures (hereafter ‘SD-PAMs’). Development is a key priority for decision-makers in developing countries, so that building climate change policy on development priorities would make it attractive to these stakeholders. Starting from development objectives and then describing paths of more sustainable development that also address climate change may be the easiest way for many developing countries to take the first steps in longer-term action on climate change. This approach has a basis in the Convention, which, together with a proposed reporting structure, would provide sufficient stringency for a first step. The next section outlines the SD-PAMs approach in concept, and specifies the practical steps that a country would have to take to define a pledge. Section 3 provides a detailed case-study to show how energy efficiency in South African industry would work as a SD-PAM. The case-study quantifies the results for electricity savings, local environmental benefits (air pollution and water), job creation potential, as well as the co-benefits of CO2 emission reductions. The fourth section develops thinking around institutional and policy issues for SD-PAMs, discussing how this approach might be realized in the UNFCCC system and what national capacity is needed – and already exists – to implement SD-PAMs."