Pretoria - Developing countries are frustrated by having to limit
industrial expansion to avoid pollution, International Relations
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday.
"There is a fundamental unfairness to the climate change problem," she said.
She was speaking in Pretoria at the announcement of the
public enterprises department's climate change policy framework for
state-owned companies, and the signing of the United Nations Global
"Countries with high standards of living are mostly
responsible for the rise in greenhouse gases, and especially the early
industrialised nations from Europe, North America and Japan."
Nkoana-Mashabane said these countries created their
wealth on the back of vast amounts of greenhouse gases being released
unchecked, long before the likely consequences were understood.
"Developing countries fear that they will have to
curtail their own fledgling industrial activities, because there would
be no choice."
She said the developing world was frustrated because
its growth was being hampered by "those who have a historical
responsibility for polluting" the universe.
The minister said climate change was "very central" on the global agenda, as it contributed immensely to poverty.
"We have the enemy called climate change and the
historic enemy of how development patterns have been taking place in our
country," Nkoana-Mashabane said.
"For us to combat and fight poverty, whatever effort we
come up with, it gets negated by the negative effects of climate
Senior officials from Eskom, SA Airways, Transnet, SA
Express, arms manufacturer Denel, diamond miner Alexkor,
telecommunications company Broadband Infraco, and the SA Forestry
Company signed the UNGC.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the
policy framework was meant to get the companies to reduce their carbon
South Africa's industrial economy was energy-intensive
and coal-dependent, and the country was ranked one of the 30 largest
emitters of greenhouse gases in the world.
The UNGC is a voluntary corporate citizen initiative,
involving, among others, thousands of businesses from every continent.
Businesses bound by the UNGC file annual progress reports to the global