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State is determined to wean industry off carbon dioxide emissions

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Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the carbon tax, which was introduced in 2019, will be progressively increased and the exemptions reduced.

South Africa is the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in Africa due to its reliance on coal-fired power stations. | EPA

By: Helmo Preuss

FINANCE Minister Enoch Godongwana said the carbon tax, which was introduced in 2019, will be progressively increased and the exemptions reduced.

The carbon tax rate was increased from R134 to R144, effective from January 1, 2022. The carbon fuel levy will increase by 1c to 9c per litre for petrol, and 10c per litre for diesel from April 6, 2022.

The first phase of the carbon tax, with substantial allowances and electricity price neutrality, will be extended to December 31, 2025.

However, in line with South Africa’s commitments at COP26, the carbon tax rate will be progressively increased every year to reach $26 (R392.18) per tonne.

In the second phase from 2026 onwards, the carbon tax rate will have larger annual increases to reach at least $30 by 2030, and the allowances will rapidly fall away.

Godongwana said he expects the tax to reach $100 by 2050. “We urge all our companies that have not already done so to develop plans to progressively reduce their emissions over the next 10 years, otherwise they will face these steep taxes. Our exporters will also face overseas border taxes for carbon-intensive goods such as iron and steel, which will reduce their competitiveness,” he said.

South Africa is the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in Africa due to its reliance on coal-fired power stations and ranks as the 12th largest globally. South Africa has committed itself to reducing these GHG emissions and has ambitious climate change targets.

These include having GHG emissions peak in 2025 at 510 million tonnes and decline, thereafter, to a maximum of 420 million tonnes by 2030.

These targets are in line with the 2012 National Development Plan (NDP) and net-zero emissions commitments by 2050.

Reducing GHG emissions and adapting to climate change will involve a concerted national effort, so achieving a just transition and promoting resilience to droughts, floods and extreme temperature change, requires the participation of all economic sectors, the finance minister said.

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