South Africa's energy sector is the most coal-dependent of all G20 countries, a new report has found.
The report also found that SA’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are some of the highest among the G20 nations.
Some 90% of South Africa's electricity currently comes from coal-fired power stations.
The Brown to Green Report, released on November 11 2019, is an annual review of G20 climate action and covers indicators on, among other things, climate policies, finance and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
According to the authors, the report found that G20 countries "spend more money driving climate change than what they get from reducing it".
"Only two G20 economies – Canada and France – generate more income from carbon pricing schemes than they spend on fossil fuel subsidies, demonstrating that the G20 countries are yet to make financial flows consistent with the Paris Agreement," they argue.
Speaking at an event co-hosted with the Embassy of France in South Africa, together with Climate Transparency and the international IMACLIM research network, Bryce McCall of the University of Cape Town’s Energy Systems Research Group said SA's domestic industry emissions were at a "dismal" level.
"Our industrial emissions intensity remains among the highest of the G20 countries. The report found that emissions per capita are roughly double the G20 average.
"This is truly dismal given our commitment to the Paris Agreement," he said.
South Africa is a signatory to the Paris Agreement to limit global average temperatures to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. In June 2019, SA launched a carbon tax, set at at R120 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
The tax was met with criticism from some quarters, including state power utility Eskom, which cited potentially significant costs, Bloomberg reported.
* Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe