Last chance for SA to save credibility on carbon tax

By Leigh Elston 11 May 2017
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The painted cooling towers of the decommissioned Orlando coal power plant in South Africa. (PA) The painted cooling towers of the decommissioned Orlando coal power plant in South Africa. (PA)

South Africa’s plan to introduce a tax of ZAR 120 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent ($8.92/tCO2e) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the most developed of the country’s policies to address climate change. However, implementation of the tax has already been delayed twice and if the current deadline of January 2018 is missed, industrial players may start to doubt the government’s commitment to enforcing it.

“The concept of introducing some kind of carbon tax system was first discussed in 2006 and, with more than a decade of activity, the law is still to be introduced,” said Andrew Gilder, climate change and carbon markets practice area lead at law firm ENSafrica. “This is a regular source of industry complaint – that they can’t plan and make strategic decisions, for example on which lower-emissions technologies to invest in, unless they have some regulatory certainty around their actual exposure to a carbon tax liability.”

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