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Speed up low carbon economy - WWF

2012-02-22 22:27

Johannesburg - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's comments on targeting carbon emissions through taxation was welcomed by the World Wildlife Fund in SA (WWF-SA) on Wednesday.

"We welcome the explicit acknowledgement of the need to price carbon emissions and the phasing in of a tax instrument for this purpose," head of WWF's Living Planet unit, Saliem Fakier, said in a statement.

Greater urgency was needed to transform South Africa's economy so it would be less dependent on carbon emission producing industry.

Internationally, carbon intensity (the carbon footprint) taxes were generally built into the cost of services and products, the environmental group said.

While the WWF realised the carbon tax issue was a sensitive one in the country's socio-economic context, the reduction of carbon emissions in South African products would ensure they remained competitive, he said.

There was a need for greater commitment to research and develop forms of energy not derived from fossil fuels. This would also help to create jobs.

"We believe that both in the interim and long term, renewables allow greater flexibility in our energy mix and ability to meet growing demand, while at the same time stimulating green economy growth," Fakier said.