Depending on Renewable Energy: South Africa’s best development path

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To avoid catastrophic climate change the world has started moving away from burning coal to produce electricity and turning to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. There is a high cost to people, societies and the planet in digging out and burning fossil fuels, processes that pollute water and air and take away agricultural land. The greenhouse gases emitted by burning coal and other fossil fuels are driving climate change, causing drought, flooding and rising temperatures. Given the goal of global climate negotiations is to hold average future temperature increase below 2°C, are South Africa’s current commitments to reduce emissions fair and adequate?

This paper provides an overview of South Africa’s energy system, national greenhouse gas emissions and anticipated emissions pathways and interrogates the range stipulated in national policy – the ‘Peak, Plateau and Decline’ or PPD Range. It finds not only that we can do more but that it is fair to do so and that it would be beneficial to people and the economy.

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