South Africa’s GHG Emissions Data Lacks Consistency and Timeliness

Spotlight Activity: South Africa’s GHG Emissions Data Lacks Consistency and Timeliness

The Republic of South Africa ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is therefore required to undertake the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories as one of the outputs for the National Communications to the UNFCCC. South Africa’s first national GHG inventory was compiled in 1998 using activity data for 1990; the second national GHG inventory used 1994 data and was published in 2004; the third national GHG inventory was compiled in 2009 using activity data from 2000; the fourth national GHG inventory was compiled in 2014 which included annual emission estimates for 2000 to 2010; and the latest national GHG inventory was compiled in 2017 which included the annual emission estimates for 2000 to 2012. The reporting of the emission data from 2000 to 2012 is in accordance with the guidelines provided by the UNFCCC and follows the 2006 IPCC Guidelines and IPCC Good Practice Guidance (GPG).

South Africa’s GHG emissions are 1.1 percent of the global emissions, while the country’s share of global GDP is only 0.6 percent. The latest National Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory 2000 to 2012 shows that South Africa’s total emissions increased from approximately 434 Mt CO2e in 2000 to 518 Mt CO2e in 2012. This is equivalent to a total increase of approximately 19 percent, or 1.6 percent annually over this period. The energy sector accounted for the 68 percent of the country’s overall emissions in 2012, industry accounted for 13 percent, transport for 9 percent, agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) for 6 percent, and waste for 4 percent. The figure below represents the GHG Emissions per Key Sector (2012):

Source: Department of Environmental Affairs-DEA (2017c)

The waste, transport and energy sectors contributed the most to emissions growth between 2000 and 2012. GHG emissions within the waste sector increased by 78 percent, emissions from the transport sector by 32 percent, and those from the energy sector by 28 percent over this period. The industrial sector emission remained roughly stable and AFOLU decreased by 32 percent.

South Africa’s GHG Emissions Trends from 2000 – 2012 (Mt CO2e)                  

Source: DEA (2017c)

To minimise the rise in GHG emissions and achieve meaningful reductions, the government of South Africa has implemented a comprehensive set of strategies, policies and sector plans within key sectors of the economy. These include, among others, Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), Energy Efficiency Strategy, the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), the Green Transport Strategy (GTS), the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan (CCAMP) for the South African Agricultural and Forestry Sectors and National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS). Together, these policies should drive far-reaching change throughout the economy and society and further the country’s low-carbon development agenda.

Status: Falling Behind

There is a lack of consistency in reporting GHG Emissions data in South Africa. The first data was published in 1998, second data in 2004, third data in 2009 and fourth data in 2014. The latest data for South Africa’s GHG Emissions was published in 2017. With significant breaks in the submission of these reports, it’s clear to see that South Africa needs a more consistent method of data collection to participate in the global effort to reduce emissions.

Take Action

We request that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), as the Competent Authority tasked with the reporting of GHG Emissions data in South Africa ensures that the consistency of reporting the emission data is sustained. The management and preparation of data collection and analysis, as well as all relevant information related to climate change in the country, need to be consistent, transparent, and accurate. South Africa has moved into the realm of binding GHG emission monitoring and reporting obligations. Therefore, it is important that the GHG reporting system is comprehensive, efficient, and able to meet the requirements of the Nationally Determined Contribution and Paris Agreement. As the country moves forward a strategic plan is required to ensure that the GHG national inventory meets the standard inventory data quality indicators such as transparency, accuracy, completeness, consistency, and comparability.

Send Action Alert Message to:

Honourable Minister Nomvula Mokonyane

Department of Environmental Affairs Environment House

473 Steve Biko

Arcadia, Pretoria 0083

Tel:  +27 12 399 9000

Learn More

Leave a Reply


Climate Scorecard depends on support from people like you.

We are a team of researchers providing information on efforts to reduce global emissions. We help make you better informed and able to advocate for improved climate change efforts. Donations of any amount are welcome.