SA to place emission caps on top polluters

2011-10-18 14:31

South Africa plans to place limits for carbon emissions on top polluters who may face penalties if they do not conform to the new regulations, a climate policy paper showed today.

Africa’s biggest economy wants to cut CO2 emissions by 34% over the next decade but has little flexibility to make fast changes with major employers among the top polluters and its cash-strapped power sector almost fully reliant on coal.

The government said the planned emissions cap, marking a more assertive state approach, will provide some flexibility and carbon offset initiatives, but transgressors could be fined.

“It’s like a speeding fine – if you go over the speed limit, you get caught, you get busted and fined,” Peter Lukey, acting deputy director general at the Department of Environmental Affairs said.

He said the limits, to be set up within the next two years, would focus on key sectors such as electricity, fuels, and the mining and transport industries.

Targeted companies and sectors will need to submit plans on how they plan to tackle emissions.

“The policy as it is, is do-able and viable, although a key concern is implementation. There are no fixed targets at this stage but the objectives are ambitious,” Johan Muller, industry analyst at Frost and Sullivan consultancy, said.

The national climate policy, approved by cabinet last week, also aims at balancing South Africa’s climate agenda with its ambition to reduce a chronic 25% unemployment rate.

A mooted carbon tax plan proposed earlier this year was already criticised for hurting South Africa’s job creation plans, putting the government in a bind ahead of hosting a global climate summit later this year.

“Government will assess the vulnerability of the different economic sectors to climate change and develop sector job resilience plans,” the policy paper said.

More than 1 million jobs have been shed since South Africa’s recession in 2009.

Power utility Eskom and petrochemicals group Sasol, which collectively pump out more than half of the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions of around 500 million tonnes, are the nation’s main polluters.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is also expected to mention climate change when he presents his medium-term budget on October 25, with additional incentives to encourage and reward efforts to curb emissions on the table.

South Africa plans to cut emissions by 34% and 42% below its “business as usual” emission growth trajectory by 2020 and 2025 respectively.

Already, the state has introduced an electricity generation levy, a motor vehicle emissions tax and a levy on incandescent light bulbs to prompt consumers towards a greener future.

A water-scarce country, most of South Africa’s emissions derive from energy supply, with about 85% of the country’s electricity generated by coal-fired power stations.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.