South Africa needs more ambitious emissions target, government commission says
JOHANNESBURG, July 2 (Reuters) – South Africa should set a more ambitious emissions reduction target ahead of a United Nations climate conference this year for economic and health reasons, a commission has recommended advising the president.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has asked the committee of officials, scientists and activists to advise him on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) the government will submit ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November.
A draft NDC released by the Department of the Environment in March significantly lowered the upper limit of the target range for greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, to a range of 398 to 440 million tonnes of dioxide equivalent. of carbon (Mt CO2e). Read more
But the Presidential Climate Commission recommended a lower range of 350-420 Mt CO2e in 2030, according to the commission’s report. Climate Action Tracker estimates that South Africa emitted around 480 to 490 Mt CO2e last year.
Setting a more ambitious target “opens up the prospect of greater international financial support for the climate,” would make the economy more competitive in the long run and provide health benefits by reducing air pollution, the said. climate commission.
Africa’s most industrialized economy is also its biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. One of the worst offenders is the state-owned utility Eskom, which burns mainly coal to generate electricity.
But under Ramaphosa, who became head of state in February 2018, the government has pledged to take faster action to tackle climate change and unveiled reforms to embrace power generation from renewable sources.
A senior Eskom official told Reuters in an interview this week that the company is offering a $ 10 billion plan to global lenders that would allow it to shut down the vast majority of its coal plants by 2050. read more
The committee highlighted the risks South Africa faces in a rapidly decarbonizing global economy, including potential trade barriers on emissions-intensive products.
In a statement released by the presidency, Ramaphosa said the committee’s recommendations, along with public comments made during a consultation process, would be part of his cabinet’s deliberations on the NDC project.
Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by Philippa Fletcher
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