This paper aims to identify policy measures in line with the UN’s New Urban Agenda and in the context of the respective Nationally Determined Contributions of the Republic of South Africa (SA). This paper reviews current developments to mitigate and adapt to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and focuses on national policies and implementation strategies of the South African government in keeping with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015). A brief overview of the City of Cape Town’s strategies to accordingly mitigate and adapt is conducted by reviewing the sectors of transport, energy and resource sector.
The Republic of South Africa is situated on the southernmost tip of the African continent and is Sub- Saharan Africa’s second largest economy; an upper middle income economy – its GDP amounting to 294.8 billion USD in 2016 (The World Bank, 2018) and accounts for 24% of the African continent’s GDP (Jain & Jain, 2017). South Africa (SA) is one of the world’s largest producers of platinum, gold and chromium. Its main industries are mining, automobile assembly, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizers, ship repair, and food production and processing. SA is a water scarce country and is particularly vulnerable to the risks of increases in average temperatures, drought and rainfall associated with climate change. Historically, SA has been heavily dependent on fossil fuels for its energy production, as it has an extensive supply of coal deposits, and faces particularity high challenges to re-orientate its energy matrix towards a low carbon and renewable sources – the 2018 World Economic Forum index scored SA 113 out of 114 countries in terms of its Energy Transition. SA is one of Africa’s most urbanised countries and hosts a population of 56.5 million people (Statistics South Africa, 2018), over a surface area 1,221,037 Km2 (2015) (United Nations Data, 2018) divided into 9 administrative provinces and is one of the few countries with three political capitals. Tshwane/ Pretoria is the executive capital, the Bloemfontein is the judicial capital, and Cape Town is the legislative capital. The cities of Johannesburg (situated within South Africa’s wealthiest province, Gauteng province, hosts a population of 4.5 million people), City of Cape Town (South Africa’s oldest city, in the Western Cape province, is home to 4 million people), and eThekwini, within Kwa-Zulu Natal province (accommodates 3.5 million people) are the 3 largest municipalities in South Africa (Statistics South Africa, 2018). South Africa has a high unemployment rate comprising of 27% of the population falling into the unemployed bracket (The World Bank, 2018), and is regarded as one of the most unequal societies in the world. A projected economic growth rate is expected to pick up moderately in 2018-19 on the assumption that business and political confidence increases and policy uncertainty fades. An estimate 64% of South Africans live in the country’s urban centres, and an estimated 39 million of these city dwellers are under the age of 40.
During the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen SA committed itself to reduce domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 34% in 2020 and 42% by 2025 below the business-as-usual (BAU) trajectory subject to the provision of adequate financial, technological and capacity-building support by developed countries (Woolard & Davis, 2015). According to SA’s Peak Plateau and Decline (PPD) pledge, it will peak its national emissions between 2020 and 2025, plateau for approximately a decade, and decline in absolute terms thereafter. South Africa’s NDCs target to limit GHG emissions including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) to between 398 and 614 Mt CO2eq over the period 2025–2030 is equivalent to a 20–82% increase on 1990 levels excluding LULUCF. South Africa’s aspiration in the long-term is that total annual GHG emissions will be in the range of 212 to 428 MtCO2e by 2050, having declined in absolute terms from 2036 onwards. In response to its identification of mitigation targets South Africa developed a National Climate Change Response White paper (SA Department of Environmental Affairs, 2011). The Key elements of SA’s overall approach to mitigation include (SA Department of Environmental Affairs, 2011):
• setting the performance benchmark: using the National GHG emissions trajectory range against which the collective outcome of all mitigation actions will be measured.
• Identifying desired sectoral mitigation contribution:defining desired emission reduction outcomes foreach sector and sub-sector of the economy.
• Defining Carbon Budgets for significant GHG emit- ting sectors and/or sub-set.
• Implementing a requirement that companies and economic sectors or sub-sectors for whom desired emission reduction outcomes have been established to prepare and submit mitigation plans that set out how they intend to achieve the desired emission reduction outcomes.
• Use different types of mitigation approaches, policies, measures and actions that optimise the mitigation outcomes as well as job creation and other sustainable development benefits.
• Using the market: using a range of economic instruments to support the system of desired emissions reduction outcomes, including the appropriate pricing of carbon and economic incentives.
• A national monitoring system of data collection to provide detailed and accurate emission data to sup- port the analysis of the impact of mitigation measures.
South Africa’s transport subsector is the second-highest contributor to GHG emissions – emitting 61 Mt CO2 in 2013 (Posada, 2018), accounting for 13% of total emissions and for 453 924 Gg CO2eq over the period 2000 - 2010. In 2010, road transport was responsible for 91.2% of transport related GHG emissions (SA Department of Transport, 2017), 7.7% was from domestic civil aviation and 1.07% from railways. Emissions in road transport increased because of motor vehicle sales that increased from 4.2% in 2000 to 15.7% in 2010 (Stats SA, 2011) – motor vehicles are closely associated with higher social status in South Africa.
Without mitigation efforts the transport sector is projected to emit a total of 136 Gg CO2eq by year 2050 (SA Department of Transport, 2017). Motor gas contributed 64.9% towards the road transport fuel consumption in 2010, followed by gas/diesel oil (35%). Between the years 2000 and 2010 there was an increase in the percentage contribution of gas/diesel oil to the road transport consumption (8.2%), and a corresponding decline in the contribution from motor gasoline (SA Department of Transport, 2017). South Africa’s railway sector uses electricity as its main source of energy, with diesel being the only other energy source. GHG emissions from transport subsector activities have increased by 32.2% from 36 016 GgCO2eq in the year 2000 to 47 607 GgCO2eq in 2010 (SA Department of Transport, 2017). In 2012, SA government invested ZAR 5 billion in public transport infrastructure and the in its INDCs indicated, “investment in public transport infrastructure would continue growing at 5% per year” (SA Department of Environment, 2015). SA’s white paper on Climate Change Response indicates that more promotion would be invested by the government to- wards transport-related interventions including transport modal shifts (road to rail, private to public) and switches to alternative vehicles – electric and hybrid vehicles – and lower-carbon fuels. SA has also identified a Transport Flagship Programme. The TransportFlagship Programme, facilitated by the Department of Transport will development of an enhanced public transport programme to promote lower-carbon mobility in five metropolitan areas and in ten smaller cities and create an Efficient Vehicles Programme with interventions that aim towards measurable improvements in the average efficiency of the South African vehicle fleet by 2020.
The national Department of Transport has drafted its Green Transport Strategy 2017-2050, which includes a Transport Flagship Programme in response to the call from the National Climate Change Response Policy document. This programme aims to facilitate the development of an enhanced public transport programme to promote low-carbon mobility in the five major metropolitan areas and in ten smaller cities throughout SA – bringing to fruitions an efficient vehicles programme by 2020. In 2017, the national Department of Trade and Industry drafted a strategy for policy direction promoting green transport technologies in South Africa – this policy also acknowledges SA’s heavy dependence on cars and fossil fuels, and the lack of coherent policy to coordinate efforts in this sector (Climate Transparency, 2017).
Issues within SA’s transportation sector
The cost of importing cars and fuel to SA amounts to more than ZAR 200 billion per year (Climate Transparency, 2017). This is a rather startling fact since the automobile assembly industry is one of the largest manufacturing sector in SA (Report Linker, 2017). While this is a problem, the social psychological association of car ownership usurps the user’s cost-benefit analysis. As of April 2017 SA had only 40 electric charging stations, although its NDC states that the country will have more than 2.9 million electric cars on the roads by 2050 (currently only 300 electric cars are in the country) with a ZAR 6.5 trillion investment expected to be spent in the electric energy industry over the next four decades. The additional problem for SA if it makes the radical swop over to electric vehicle in the immediate future is that its energy matrix remains heavily dependent on fossil fuel energy and not clean energy, and that a lack of sufficient electric infrastructure remains a significant hurdle to the adoption of electric cars. The current fuel tax regime in SA only applies to petrol, diesel, and biodiesel based on volume per litre– electric vehicles are not classified as a fuel stock and hence do not contribute to the general taxes imposed on traditional fuel. Petrol, diesel and biodiesel are classified as fuel levy goods and zero-rated for value added tax purposes in SA. Most of the existing environmentally related taxes in SA where introduced with the intention of raising revenue thus a huge potential exists to using the tax regime to shift behaviour and improve environmental outcomes in redesigning the tax regime in for this industry.
The City of Cape Town has a high carbon footprint compared to other similar cities due to its poor energy security matrix, is rapidly urbanising, with urban sprawl and increase vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. In 2001, the City of Cape Town adopted an integrated Metropolitan Environmental Policy identifying a need to shift from business-as- usual to a targeted sustainable agenda. The city has recognised that its legacy issues of spatial planning and transport does not adhere to its international obligation and the SDGs.
Transport: The City of Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa with 80% of the peak traffic currently being made up of private car users. The City of Cape Town has begun to focus on spatial transformation that is Transit-Oriented Development – a transit-let development agenda at all levels of the built environment. The City of Cape Town has institutionalised a Transport and Urban Development (TDA) authority which is to be responsible for all transport and urban development issues. In 2018, ten electric busses where integrated into the public bus fleet, a call for a bike sharing system was sent out, a policy change to begin a ticketing system for all public transportation systems into one single ticket system is also under way. The City of Cape Town’s e-mobility strategy also includes the development of an EV framework, developing the existing infrastructure further and improving bicycle lands usage and awareness campaigns.
South Africa is the single largest emitter of CO2 on the African continent, and the 13th largest emitter in the world (Boden, Marland, & Andres, 2011) – with GHG emissions totally 579 million tons CO2e in 2010. South Africa has committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% from business as usual (BAU) by 2020, and by 42% by 2025. SA’s intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) sets the country ambitions to reduce GHG emission to a target of 212-428 Mt CO2e by 2050 and 398-614 Mt CO2e between 2025 and 2030 (DEA, 2015) The City of Cape Town’s Carbon footprint amounted to 5.6tCO2-e per capita in 2012 indicating a higher carbon footprint than other similar cities due to mostly its poor energy security matrix, rapidly urbanising population, and increased urban sprawl. Cape Town’s carbon emissions are made up of 40% from transportation, 44% from industry, 13% from households, and 3% from public administration. Emissions from transportation in South Africa amounts to 10.8% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, with road transportation being responsible for 91.2% of these total transportation emissions in general (Eskom, 2018).
Status of EVs in South Africa
Electric vehicles uptake in South Africa has been generally sluggish, although the national department of Trade and Industry in its 2015/16 to 2018/19 industrial policy action plan included the electric vehicle market as one of its projects earmarked for investment. SA’s Department of Trade and Industry stated “this is intended to break the so-called chicken and egg-dilemma, whereby without the necessary supply and distribution infrastructure for green transport fu- els in place, consumers, will be reluctant to buy green vehicles, while without adequate levels of consumer demand, there is little or no incentive to invest in a local supply distribution and production infrastructure” (Eskom, 2018). The city of Cape Town is the first African city to have added 11 electric buses to its fleet. Early 2018, the city of Cape Town’s “MyCITI” bus rapid transport service added 11 electric buses into its fleet. The e-buses are 12m long with 34 seats and 63-passenger carrying capacity – the BYD renewable energy technology Company won the public to provide the city with the K9UR bus classic specification. The bus fleet is locally manufactured by Busmark 2000 and has a range of 200 km on a single charge. The city administration has indicated that the pilot project will aim to evaluate performance, energy consumption, life cycle costs on specific route deployments – using the data gathered for future decisions regarding future acquisition and deployments (George, 2018). The 11 electric buses have cost the city administration ZAR 128 million
(approximately 8 000 000 Euro).
South Africa’s promotion and introduction of Electric Vehicles (EVs) via the South African Low-Carbon Transport Project and the Electric Vehicle Industry Association of South Africa – who’s objective is to create awareness of electric vehicle technology and increase EV charging infrastructure in SA. The electric vehicle industry association of South Africa does this by collaborating with a broad range of industry stakeholders. The National Transport Master Plan, 2050, places added importance on the Preservation of the environment – its strategic Pillar 7. The Promotion of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles is a strategic principle in this document. Currently, a Draft Green Transport Strategy is out for comment by the South African government. This strategy includes the objectives of the transport sector to enable its effort to combat climate change by promoting sustainability and cleaner mobility development and to facilitate the sectors transition to climate resilient and low carbon economy and society.