Explainers

Energy


Explainer

Air pollution is the world’s most critical environmental health risk. South Africa’s use of fossil fuels produces hundreds of millions of tonnes of emissions annually.

Explainer Photograph of a small green plant growing out of a jar of coins

COP26 saw South Africa make a public commitment to greening its economy. But, can non-renewable resources be part of this transition?

Explainer Aerial photo of Cape Town lit up at night

While waiting for government measures to be implemented, many businesses are taking control of their own energy security through investment in solar.

Explainer Photo of Gwede Mantaste, Soutb Africa's Minister for the Department Minerals and Energy Resources

The mission of the Department of Energy is to “regulate and transform the sector for the provision of secure, sustainable and affordable energy”.

Agriculture


Explainer Field of wheat crop in front of mountain

Agriculture is both a victim and culprit of climate change. The sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and is acutely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Explainer Aerial view of crops being harvested by machine

Farming is a thriving, robust and diverse sector in South Africa, consisting of both commercial and subsistence farms.

Finance


Explainer Bulldozer pushing Indonesian coal at coal mine

A carbon tax is a fee paid to the government by carbon dioxide (or carbon dioxide equivalent) emitters for every tonne of carbon emitted.

Explainer Yellow digger mining coal in large open cast coal mine

South Africa is a coal-dependent country. Coal makes up 74 per cent of the country’s total electricity supply. In the first quarter of 2021, 81.8 per cent of South Africa’s electricity came from coal.

Explainer A Sasol petrol station

In August 2021, the South African government announced a steep rise in the price of petrol – an increase of 91 cents per litre. This will place pressure on consumers, said a representative from the country’s Automobile Association.

Policy


Explainer Electricity pylons at sunset

Energy is essential for the functioning of any modern economy. South Africa’s Central Energy Fund (CEF) does the vital job of maintaining that energy supply.

Explainer Photo of a gas turbine power plant

South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is the country’s long-term energy plan until 2030. It became official government policy in October 2019.

Explainer Ariel view of large scale solar power plant

The Independent Power Producers (IPP) procurement programme is part of the South African government’s answer to its energy generation shortage.

Explainer The tallest building in Africa, The Leonardo. Based in Sandton, South Africa

A carbon footprint is the number of greenhouse gases emitted through a person, business or even a country’s activities. These greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide and methane.

Science


Explainer

“There are no jobs on a dead planet!” goes the old slogan. Environmental degradation is a serious risk to economic growth.

Explainer Photograph of an intricately patterned glass dome, taken from underneath

The main greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), produced by burning fossil fuels. South Africa is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases on the African continent.

Explainer Young crops growing from soil in a field

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas (GHG), more commonly known as laughing gas. While N2O rarely makes headlines, it is a dangerous driver of climate change.

Explainer Blue and white infographic showing how hydrogen (H2) can power transportation and buildings

South Africa’s Low Emission Development Strategy 2050 is the country’s most recent emissions reductions plan.

Just Transition


Explainer Single story houses and trees in a rural South African community

Rural development is vital for South Africa’s sustainable economic future. The farming sector is perhaps the most important, as food security and poverty reduction depend on it.

Explainer

Since 2003, the South African government has been funding free electricity for the poorest households. This is because it recognises that poverty is a barrier to electricity access.

Explainer An aerial view of many house in Mpumalanga province

This phase-down of coal will bring significant changes to South Africa. This makes the need for a just transition away from coal fundamental to ensure no one is left behind.