South Africa Paris Agreement Commitments

South Africa`s Paris Agreement Commitments: What You Need to Know

In 2015, 195 countries including South Africa, committed to the Paris Agreement. The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels, with an aim of keeping temperature increases to 1.5°C. Apart from reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, the Paris Agreement also aims to address other related issues such as adaptation and finance.

South Africa has made substantial commitments under the Paris Agreement. The country is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Africa and the 14th largest globally. With a population of more than 59 million and an economy reliant on coal-fired power, South Africa faces significant challenges in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa`s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) under the Paris Agreement include the following:

1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 relative to a `business as usual` scenario, and 42% by 2025.

2. Introducing carbon tax in 2021, which will be phased in over a period of three years.

3. Increasing the share of renewable energy in the country`s energy mix to 30% by 2025.

4. Developing and implementing a national adaptation strategy by 2020.

5. Further developing the country`s Long-Term Adaptation Scenarios (LTAS) to guide adaptation planning.

6. Reducing waste and increasing recycling rates.

7. Increasing energy efficiency in buildings, transport and industry.

8. Developing and implementing programs to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector.

Despite these commitments, there have been concerns that South Africa`s progress towards achieving its INDCs has been slow. According to South Africa`s Climate Change Bill, which was recently passed by Parliament, the country plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This target is in line with what scientists have recommended if the world is to limit temperature increases to below 1.5°C.

The Climate Change Bill also provides for the establishment of a Climate Change Commission which will coordinate and oversee the implementation of the country`s climate change response and the transition to a low carbon economy.

In conclusion, South Africa`s commitments under the Paris Agreement are ambitious, but the country still has a long way to go in achieving them. The introduction of the Climate Change Bill and the establishment of the Climate Change Commission are positive steps in this direction. Achieving these commitments will require a concerted effort from all sectors of society, including government, the private sector, and civil society. By working together, South Africa can play its part in addressing the global challenge of climate change.