Drones are part of an increasingly sophisticated arsenal used by scientists to understand forests and their role in the battle against climate change

Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy welcomed the Climate Change Bill endorsed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Speaking on Monday, the minister explained how this bill empowers the ministry "to respond at the necessary scale and speed, building on the considerable amount of work we have already done," SA News reported.

She noted that the "climate change is here" and there is "relatively little time to respond." Creecy explained that the bill aims to support the creation of a strong climate change strategy and a gradual transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

"The NCOP's approval of the Climate Change Bill is a landmark in our response to climate change," she said. "Since 2011, when we outlined South Africa's response to climate change in our National Climate Change Response White Paper, we have been putting in place the instruments for an integrated response."

Creecy added, "Now, this Bill will integrate all of these components into a robust legal framework, and mainstream climate action across government."

The minister further highlighted the significance of the bill, explaining that it will establish essential legal guidelines to control actions that contribute to climate change.

The bill will also guarantee a coordinated response across all levels of government and society, ensuring fairness in the transition process while maximizing economic opportunities as the world shifts towards a green economy.

The government is setting up groups called Provincial Forums on Climate Change and Municipal Forums on Climate Change to be a part of existing institutions and planning processes to figure out what each province and city needs to deal with climate change and make plans to tackle it.

The new bill officially establishes the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) as a separate part of the government to advise on how to transition to a more fair and sustainable way of dealing with climate change.

"The PCC will continue to be headed by the President, which sends a strong signal of South Africa's commitment to addressing the complex challenges of responding to climate change and the urgency with which this needs to be achieved," the minister said.

Earlier this year, the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) launched upskilling programs for employees to train them in renewable energy and water resource management fields.