South Africa Will Make These Necessary Changes to Hit 2030 Emission Target


According to a proposed climate plan, South Africa plans to cut emissions by about a third by 2030.

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Open Public Consultation

The government has opened a public consultation on its revised climate strategy, which will extend until the end of May, to send a draft document to the UN in time for the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, UK, in November.

Lowering Emissions

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South Africa’s annual greenhouse gas emissions will be limited to 398-440 million tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030, according to the draft proposal. Compared to the 2015 commitment, which set a target of 614 MtCO2 for annual emissions, this lowers emissions by 28%.

To accomplish the target, it will focus on “a very aggressive power sector investment program,” as well as the introduction of a green transportation agenda, energy efficiency initiatives, and a carbon tax.

Natural Energy Sources

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Gwede Mantashe, the minister of natural resources and electricity, said at an environment and growth summit held by the UK last week, “We are not setting up reasons not to do anything because there is a Covid-19 pandemic.”

“It is not going to be a stroke of a pen [that] turns off coal power plants and then transitions to renewables,” Mantasha said, describing the energy conversion as “a journey.”

Related Article: NDC Synthesis Reports Showed How Far Countries Are From Meeting Paris Agreement’s Climate Goals

Discussing the Proposal

The draft proposal was “far better” than its 2015 promises, according to Deborah Ramalope, a researcher at Climate Analytics and a former member of the South African delegation to UN climate talks.

She told Climate Home News that it is “currently not consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature target” of reducing warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

According to Climate Action Tracker benchmarks, Wanjira Mathai, regional director for Africa at the World Resources Institute, cheered the planned goal, which would align the country’s efforts with limiting temperature to 2 degrees Celsius.

She praised the inclusion of measures to deal with worsening climate changes, such as early warning systems, climate-resilient growth planning, better governance, and research funding.

Estimated Budget

South Africa reports that by 2030, it will need $8 billion a year from the international community to support its decarbonization and adaptation activities, which is more than three times what it has earned in recent years. 89 percent of the climate funding it obtained in 2018-19 came in the form of loans.

Tight Goals

According to the government paper, South Africa’s tighter goal was made possible by lower-than-expected greenhouse gas production over the last ten years and a fall in emission rate.

This can be explained, according to Saliem Fakir, executive director of the Africa Environment Foundation in South Africa, by the rise of the service sector and the decline of carbon-intensive heavy industries.

He said that a dramatic increase in electricity tariffs had raised the cost pressure on businesses and prompted them to boost their energy efficiency.

According to Fakir, the enhanced climate change is “not the product of real optimism,” but rather a side effect of an economic transition toward utilities.

“This has little to do with a constructive solution to lowering pollution. Coal appears to be the main cause of pollution, he said.

Utility Services

South Africa’s state-owned utility, Eskom, provided 86 percent of the country’s electricity in 2020, rendering it the most coal-dependent G20 economy.

The revised climate plan recognizes the energy market as a decarbonization goal for the next decade, thus maintaining sustainable prosperity for people that depend on coal for their livelihoods.

Campaigners and observers claim that the nation could decarbonize more quickly, but an artificial limit on renewable energy deployment is holding it back. The government’s 2019 energy supply plan provides another 1,500MW of coal power capacity to be installed this decade. Solar installations are limited to 1,000MW a year, and wind installations are limited to 1,600MW.

Climate Justice

Alex Lenferna, secretary of the Climate Justice Alliance, a network of civil society organizations in South Africa, told Climate Home News, “It is our Achilles heel of climate ambition.” “It’s still difficult for South Africa to secure green financing while we’re looking to expand our coal industry.”

According to Hartmut Winkler of the University of Johannesburg, there is “no need for a renewable limit,” serving as an unnecessary obstacle to decarbonization.

“There would be absolutely no shortage of interest from developers if there was a solid indication that this country was trying to push renewables,” he added.

According to Fakir, the government has attempted to keep the coal industry on board by reaching an agreement that also provides a large amount of coal in the power mix.

Although the government has approved a long-term vision to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the proposal will also enable the country to burn coal before an exit date is settled.

Energy Issue

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“There is a lot of politics and corporate interests in the coal industry. Winkler continues, “The term’ coal mafia’ is often used to describe opaque buying contracts.”

Meanwhile, earlier this month, a fifth procurement round for 1,600 MW of onshore wind and 1,000 MW of solar energy was announced – two years later than anticipated.

South Africa is suffering intermittent power losses, which Eskom predicts could continue for the next five years due to delayed solar expansion and aging coal power plants being gradually taken offline for maintenance.

Also Read: Big Oil Burning: How Flaring in the Permian Basin Affects the Climate Challenge

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© 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

© 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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