South Africa not Measuring up – Latest Brown to Green Emissions Report

  • To keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal within reach, G20 countries will have to increase their 2030 emission targets by 2020 and significantly scale up mitigation, adaptation and finance over the next decade.
  • Carbon emissions from the world’s 20 biggest economies are rising. None of the G20 countries have plans that will put them on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C, despite the fact that most are technically capable and have economic incentives.

These findings are detailed in the new ‘Brown to Green Report 2019’ published by the Climate Transparency partnership, an international research collaboration.

The report is the most comprehensive review of G20 countries’ climate performance, mapping achievements and drawbacks in their efforts to reduce emissions, adapt to climate impacts and green the
financial system.

Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs) are too weak, with about half of the G20 countries projected to meet or overachieve their inadequate NDCs. There is plenty of room for enhanced ambition among all
G20 countries.

“Just one year before the critical deadline the findings give us hope that countries will find the political will to commit to higher emission reduction targets in 2020 as they promised under the Paris Agreement”, says Alvaro Umaña, the co-chair of Climate Transparency and Former Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.

“For the first time, the report identifies untapped potential and key opportunities for countries to ramp up ambition and as such will be a valuable tool for governments when they update their climate plans.”

Emissions rising in South Africa

The country report on South Africa shows that the country’s greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions are – per capita – above the G20 average.

In fact, total GHG emissions (excl. land use) have increased by 39% since 1990, but emissions in recent years have been almost constant owing largely to low economic growth and declining electricity intensity.

South Africa needs to reduce its emissions to below 360 MtCO2e by 2030 and to below 231 MtCO2e by 2050 to be within its fair-share range compatible with global 1.5°C IPCC scenarios.

The country needs to stop building new coal plants, including finishing the two units at Kusile, establish timelines to phase out existing coal-fired power stations and accelerate the decommissioning of plants too costly to retrofit to meet air-quality standards.

For more country related findings or to check your country emissions status, click here.

Author: Pamela Largue

This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission with minor editorial changes.

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