South Africa Capping Greenhouse Gas Emissions. What Say You, India and China?

Cape Town Downtown Photo

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Bucking the tide of many developing nations, South Africa has chosen to set a limit on its greenhouse-gas emissions and to increase its use of renewable energy sources. South Africa's Environment Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said the country has a target to "stabilize" emissions by 2020 to 2025, "with absolute reductions in begin ten years after growth was halted."

How will they meet this goal? Well, first by reducing consumption of cheap coal for electricity and requiring that all coal power plants use both carbon capture and storage technology. There will also be a greater emphasis on using energy from renewable sources. Other options include a possible carbon tax, as well as mandatory energy efficiency measures.South Africa's emissions are currently among the top five highest for developing countries. While South Africa, like China and India, believes that the US should reduce its emissions between 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, this may put pressure on India and China to consider some sort of emission reductions as this signals South Africa's willingness to meet in the middle on emission reductions. Van Schalkwyk admits that by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from South Africa are predicted to quadruple unless they alter course.

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