Kyoto? Carbon policies and markets? What does that have to do with me? Or South Africa? More than we think it seems. I asked an energy consultant about carbon policies and South Africa. She says, “Yes, there are carbon policies in place globally as part of Kyoto Protocol. For example, European governments agree on a maximum amount that key carbon-emitting businesses (like oil companies or electricity generators) can emit annually and anything over and above that, the companies have to buy carbon credits to cover. If you are below your limit you can also sell your allowance.”
This doesn’t really impact South Africa but there is another tool, which has been developed to reduce carbon emissions in developing countries. The ‘clean development mechanism’ is basically an option to set up projects like renewable energy or energy efficiency in developing countries like South Africa. This is to drive carbon reductions below a baseline (the level they would be at if you didn’t have these types of projects) for which you can get credits that can be sold in the international carbon-trading schemes. Africa still only hosts 2.6% of projects (141 in total) with Asia accounting for 79% and Latin America for 16%.
The key is that Kyoto 2 is being renegotiated and all eyes will be on South Africa in late 2011 when the Climate Summit is held in Johannesburg. It is likely that if any climate deal is agreed upon, it will be there as Kyoto 1 (Kyoto Protocol) will run out in 2012 and after the failures of Copenhagen last year, there is little hope that a deal will be struck at the summit in Mexico later this year. South Africa wants to play a role and has been positioning itself towards the carbon tax. The South African government says this type of carbon tax will probably be their policy but with nothing built into the country’s laws just yet. A proposed hybrid solution to carbon policy to follow… Should make for good reading! 🙂