South Africa set to introduce long-awaited carbon tax in June

(Climate Change News, 21 Feb 2019) The levy will make polluters report and pay for their emissions, but experts say the starting rate is too low to spur a rapid shift to clean energy.

South Africa is on course to put a price on carbon pollution, after the National Assembly passed a long-awaited Carbon Tax Bill on Tuesday.

The tax will start at 120 rand ($8) a tonne of carbon dioxide, although various free allocations reduce the effective rate to R6-54/t, depending on the industry.

In his budget speech on Wednesday, finance minister Tito Mboweni also announced funds to restructure ailing state-owned utility Eskom, which owns most of the country’s coal plants.

“The sustainability challenge affects us all. Climate change is real. The steps being undertaken at Eskom will allow us to expand renewable energy, and the carbon tax will come into effect from 1 June 2019,” said Mboweni.

The bill needs to be rubber-stamped by the National Council of Provinces and the president before it becomes law.

A carbon tax was first proposed in 2010, then repeatedly delayed by industry pushback and broader political inertia. The rate at which it increases has been scaled down from 10% a year in the initial plan to 2% above inflation.

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Climate Change News, 21 Feb 2019: South Africa set to introduce long-awaited carbon tax in June