Global climate change has become one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today. The most critical and urgent issue is how to prevent further accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The next priority is to implement adaptive measures, limiting harm to the extent that climate change cannot be avoided. South Africa’s economy is carbon intensive and coal is one of the country’s sources of energy. South Africa is one of the world biggest polluters, and in terms of ‘polluter pays principle’ the costs of abatement will be astronomical and cost-beneficial ways of reducing air pollution need be found. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims at stabilising carbon dioxide emissions at sustainable level (1990 levels) and UNFCCC implementation arm, the Kyoto Protocol provides market based mechanism as cost effective ways of doing that. The clean development mechanism (CDM), as a market mechanism, allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. It is argued that the mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction limitation targets. South Africa has opted the CDM, establishing its own Designated National Authority (DNA). There are challenges to be faced and concerns about CDM viability.
|Keywords:||Climate, Change, South Africa, Carbon Economy, UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Cost of Abatement, Sustainable Development, CDM, Designated National Authority|
Senior Researcher, Department of Public, Constitutional & International Law and Institute of Foreign & Comparative Law, College of Law, University of South Africa, Pretoria, Gauteng Province, South Africa
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