South Africa Pushed by Presidential Body to Boost Climate Target

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South Africa, the world’s 12th-biggest producer of greenhouse gases, should improve on its target to cut its projected greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2030, members of the Presidential Climate Change Commission said.

In a hearing on Friday, members of the commission, which was appointed last year, debated the proposed target of between 398 and 440 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent for 2030. That forms part of the country’s so-called Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC, to be presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change later this year.

“Given the fact that a number of our metros have quite well developed climate plans, cities can move further and faster in terms of mitigation that that should be factored into the setting of the NDC,” said Joanne Yawitch, chief executive officer of the National Business Initiative. “It may mean some policy changes but there’s big potential there.”

Yawitch is a member of the commission and her organization is backed by companies operating in South Africa and advises on sustainable development.

Key to South Africa’s success in meeting the targets and making progress beyond 2030 is reducing its reliance on coal, which is used to generate almost all of the country’s electricity. State power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. plans to gradually close some of its plants and have them replaced with renewable energy.

The commission should recommend that the NDC commit to a goal of net-zero by 2050, Louise Naude, low-carbon frameworks programme manager for the WWF and a member of the commission, said. The NDC only proposes targets until 2030.

“14 countries have committed to net-zero, some by law even, so I think we can be in that pack with no risk to ourselves,” she said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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