One of the Continent’s Worst Polluters Transitions to Lower Emissions

South Africa’s long-delayed carbon tax has been enshrined in law, in its efforts to meet agreements on global climate change. The tax was first mooted in 2010 but has been postponed at least three times after mining companies, steelmakers and state-owned power utility Eskom said it would erode profit and push up electricity prices. The first phase of the tax is from 1 June to December 2022, with a tax rate of $8.34 (R120) per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Allowable tax breaks will reduce the effective rate to between R6 and R48 per tonne of CO2. Big energy users, including Sibanye-Stillwater and ArcelorMittal’s South African operation, had previously opposed plans to enact carbon tax laws, saying the levies are unaffordable and should be scrapped or delayed. Local and overseas climate activists, however, believe the tax response falls short of emissions targets the country signed up for in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The tax is considered “highly insufficient” by the Climate Action Tracker group.


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