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Cover Stories Series 2011
UPDATED: November 30, 2011 Web Exclusive
South Africa Launches Green Economy Accord
The Green Economy Accord boasts one of the most comprehensive social pacts on green collar jobs in the world

MEETING THE PRESS: Ebrahim Patel (left), South Africa's Minister of Economic Development, attends a press briefing at the sideline of COP 17 in Durban of South Africa on November 29 (YU YAN)

China launched solar energy development only five years ago, but now it has become the world's leader in this field, said Ebrahim Patel, South Africa's Minister of Economic Development at a press briefing at the sidelines of the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Patel made this remark as South Africa launched the Green Economy Accord earlier that day at the COP 17. He took the successful example of solar water-heating systems as an example of the green economy's benefits.

According to the White Paper: China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change of 2011 issued by the Chinese Government on November 22, China's solar water-heating system utility capacity totaled 168 million square meters in 2010.

"COP 17 is an opportunity for us to share our experience and to learn from the rest of the world on successful examples of using new technologies and new ways of engineering our workplaces, homes and transport systems to ensure that we make a positive contribution to climate change goals," said Patel.

The Green Economy Accord boasts one of the most comprehensive social pacts on green jobs in the world. It builds a partnership to create 300,000 new jobs by 2020 in economic activities as diverse as energy generation, manufacturing of products that reduce carbon emissions, farming activities to provide feedstock for bio-fuels, soil, environmental management and eco tourism.

It was signed by representatives of the South African government, business representatives, organized labor and the community constituency at the Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town on November 17, 2011.

One of the commitments in the accord is to install one million solar water-heating systems in South Africa by the 2014 fiscal year.

South African President Jacob Zuma called the accord a key example of steps being taken locally to address the challenges of climate change in his speech at the opening ceremony on November 28.

(Reporting from Durban, South Africa)

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