SA ratifies Paris Agreement

South Africa has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, it has joined the growing momentum to take climate action. 87 countries had ratified already, exceeding the requirement of 55 Parties – and on 5 October, the second ‘trigger’ of representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions was also met. Thirty days after these two triggers were met, the Agreement formally ‘enters into force’ – on 4 November 2016.   SA snuck in with its instrument of ratification… Read moreSA ratifies Paris Agreement


Context Increasing attention is being given internationally to the risks associated with unburnable carbon and stranded assets (UNEP 2015, IEA, 2014; Citi, 2015). Stranded assets are assets that “have suffered from unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations or conversion to liabilities” (Caldecott et al, 2014), arising from environmental regulation or other regulatory shifts, as well as market forces and other causes, including the falling costs of competing technologies and structural market decline. Citibank (2015) has estimated that the value of stranded… Read morePolicy Brief: THE IMPACT OF STRANDING POWER SECTOR ASSETS IN SOUTH AFRICA

What might the Paris Agreement mean for South Africa?

What are the implications for South Africa of the Paris Agreement on climate change? Here is my initial take, following an earlier assessment of the contents of the Agreement The Paris Agreement is characterised by much broader participation than the Kyoto Protocol. Much more will be required for South Africa, together with all other countries, in terms of regularly communicating contributions. These contributions will be ‘nationally determined’, but subject to strong international review at the individual and collective level. This… Read moreWhat might the Paris Agreement mean for South Africa?

The fifth BRICS summit – growing influence

The fifth BRICS summit took place in Durban from 26-27 March. The BRICS countries are made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and represent the fastest growing emerging markets in the world, accounting for 42% of the world’s population and 20% of output. Increasing cooperation between BRICS countries in key areas such as finance, culture, transportation links, and developing an integrated market for trade and investment were key objectives of the summit. There were four major outcomes… Read moreThe fifth BRICS summit – growing influence

Normalising apples & pears: comparing trade offs for pro-poor mitigation options

Imagine the juggling act being asked of policy makers: they’ve got to spread limited resources between meeting the government’s objective of reducing poverty to zero percent; at the same time, they’ve got to make a handbrake turn on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. And since poverty alleviation is often linked with development, and development usually translates into emissions increases, it seems as though they’re being asked to do the impossible. This week, the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre… Read moreNormalising apples & pears: comparing trade offs for pro-poor mitigation options

Reflections on pricing carbon in Australia and South Africa

A trip to Australia to look at their carbon pricing mechanism (CPM) and related institutions and initiatives prompted some reflections on what might be possible in South Africa.[1]  The CPM is the centre-piece of climate policy led by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE). Overall impressions Before digging into the details, my overall impression: There is an impressive set of institutions and people in Australia, ready to implement the CPM, meet the renewable energy target (20% of… Read moreReflections on pricing carbon in Australia and South Africa

Mitigation targets and actions at the Bangkok talks

At the UNFCCC climate negotiations starting in Bangkok this week, there will be further workshops on mitigation. Some about commitments, umm, targets for developed countries, and another about mitigation actions by developing countries. There are important issues for both: 1. Workshop on developed country mitigation targets, or more formally quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets by developed country Parties. Key issues here will be how progress can be demonstrated against a clear target.  What is clear is that rules and targets… Read moreMitigation targets and actions at the Bangkok talks

Community Power at the World Wind Congress in Bonn

Citizen owned and organised renewable energy projects are presented, discussed and analysed at the World Wind Congress in Bonn, Germany from the 3.-5. July 2012. The conference is attended by people from all over the world. Most countries of Europe were represented, as well as Peru, Chile, Australia, North America, a large Canadian delegation… and three South Africans. The Not-for-Profit Developer Just Energy is represented by Zukisani Jakavula and presenting a risk analysis of South Africa’s policy environment is former… Read moreCommunity Power at the World Wind Congress in Bonn

Carbon tax – a slow start and then?

The Finance Minister’s budget speech gave little detail of the carbon tax, although Pravin Gordhan did say it will be implemented in the next financial year, i.e. 2013/14. The outlines are sketchy, but it seems the tax will not be as high as it sounds due to exemptions, and rise only slowly in the next seven years. Some more  detailed design elements are in the Budget Review,   Surprisingly this comes ahead of a more detailed tax design document which… Read moreCarbon tax – a slow start and then?


Yesterday evening (29/11/2011) ERC researcher, Anya Boyd represented the Energy Research Centre at a side event hosted by the Indian Resources Institute (TERI) along with project collaborators Tschingua University from China, and Vitae Civilis from Brazil. The project will span over 2-3 years and is exploring the approach to NAMA’s across the partner countries of Brazil, South Africa, India and China. The project is still in it’s early stages and is divided into 3 work packages. The first Work Package… Read moreNAMAs: BASICally