South Africa's carbon tax matters for the economy and tackling climate change | 5/27/2019 | Staff
monimoni (Posted by) Level 3
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Carbon tax is likely to be an effective way of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to climate change and have negative consequences for human life. But the carbon tax that's been introduced in South Africa could cost jobs, unless people acquire skills that can be used in sectors that are not carbon-intensive.

Despite the fact that there will be winners and losers, overall, the tax should benefit South Africans.

Greenhouse - Gas - Emissions - Activities - Carbon

Greenhouse gas emissions mainly from human activities such as carbon dioxide trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting in increased global temperatures and, in turn, unpredictable weather patterns. These changes—simply referred to as climate change—have led to devastating outcomes such as severe drought, heatwaves, flooding and wildfires.

Climate change also affects agriculture, water resources, human health, infrastructure, ecosystems and energy. In 2015 United Nations member countries agreed in the Paris Agreement to move faster towards a low-carbon future.

Measures - Climate - Change - South - Africa

As one of the first measures to combat climate change, South Africa recently introduced a carbon tax. It's the only African country and one of only 57 globally to have done so.

The carbon tax is a tax on energy as most of South Africa's carbon emissions are from energy generation and the industrial use of energy. As much as 80 percent of South Africa's primary energy is powered by coal.

Article - Carbon - Tax - Emissions - Percent

In a recently published article we showed that the carbon tax should reduce emissions by 33 percent relative to the baseline by 2035.

But the tax could lead to a welfare loss by reducing disposable incomes of consumers by about R100 billion over a 20 year period. Workers in carbon-intensive sectors are at particular risk of losing their jobs.

Sectors - Fossil-fuel - Energy - Transport - Iron

Sectors that are closely tied to fossil-fuel based energy will be worst affected. They include transport, iron and steel, and coal-generated electricity. Their output will decline relative to a business-as-usual baseline.

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