6 Roles and Responsibilities
Although climate change and our response to climate change will directly alter the environment in which we live and work (e.g. increasing or decreasing rain, increasing temperatures, more floods, more drought, etc.) and will change how we live and work (e.g. more efficient energy use, greater use of public transport, etc.), it does not change what work is done or needs to be done and neither does it change who should be doing it.
For example, if a national department is responsible for the development of national energy policy, within a changing climate and our response to it, that department will remain responsible for the development of national energy policy. The only difference being is that climate change and our agreed responses to climate change must now be considered in the development of the policy and integrated into it. Thus, although climate change provides a changing context and new challenges to the way, for example, government does its work, the basic work remains the same and, hence, government’s roles and responsibilities remain the same.
This notwithstanding, we must recognise that most of our climate adaptation and much of the mitigation efforts will take place at provincial and municipal levels and will be integrated into provincial development and spatial plans and into IDPs at municipal level. It is imperative that we recognise the centrality of all three spheres of government in addressing climate change and that necessary support is provided for this. In particular we should recognise the valuable work that has already been done by many municipalities and provinces in relation to addressing climate change and we should ensure that means are found so that best practice and innovative methodologies are disseminated and replicated.