South Africa has a Good System for Compiling GHG Inventories, but the Structural Challenge Affects Effective Implementation

Rating C

The 8th National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report (NIR), which was recently published, contains the greenhouse inventory from 2000 to 2017. The NIR shows South Africa’s greenhouse gas emission rate has gradually decreased. The first national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory was prepared in 1998 for the UNFCCC and published in 2004 using 1990 to 1994 data. The GHG inventory from 2000 to 2010 was compiled in 2014 and 2011 to 2012. It was later updated from 2013 to 2017 and again in 2019 and 2020. The 2020 report includes the GHG trends from 2000 to 2020. South Africa released its greenhouse gas inventory after almost two decades. The compilation of greenhouse gas emissions is done transparently by the government. The inventory is available for public comment, and the reports are reviewed by the United Nations Framework of Climate Change Committee (UNFCCC).

The Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries (DEFF)is the agency responsible for managing and coordinating climate change data. DEFF is also responsible for compiling, reporting, and implementing the GHG inventories. Other agencies and all departments support the DEFF by providing the necessary information to compile the GHG inventory report. Below are the Institutional arrangements for the compilation of the inventory for South Africa

The South African government agency that coordinates the actual production of the annual emissions reports the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory System (NAEIS). NAEIS develops the reports using data from companies and other government agencies. Recently, the DEFF has modified the reporting terms of reference for NAEIS to meet the new National Greenhouse Reporting Regulations (NGER). NAEIS uses the government’s measurement, reporting, and verification(MRV) system and is supported by an excellent emission reporting portal called the South African Greenhouse Emission Reporting System (SAGERS). The SAGERS system is an online portal used for registration and reporting to fulfill NGER information needs. The portal helps with data collection for the inventory and improves the quality, consistency, and accuracy of the national GHG inventories. The efforts of NAES are guided by corporate governance.  Corporate governance is made up of board members who are assigned to do certain duties. In South Africa, corporate governance comprises four committees set out by public companies: the audit committee, the remuneration committee, the nomination committee, and the risk committee. Corporate governance sets out rules and regulations that companies must comply with in their daily business activities. Corporate governance recommends three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social. In addition, corporate governance also helps companies achieve considerable environmental sustainability and helps companies adhere to environmental regulations and climate change legislation. In GHG reporting, corporate governance ensures that all key stakeholders share appropriate data and information to be included in the report.

South Africa has been releasing GHG inventory reports inconsistently.  Some of the delays in the compilation of GHG inventory reports are due to structural challenges that affect the report’s accuracy, such as the use of lower tier methods due to lack of comprehensive data, institutional involvement, and legal and formal procedures when compiling GHG inventory reports. The lower tier (Tier 1) involves using readily available GHG emissions data and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission factors.


  2. GHG Inventory for South Africa: 2000 – 2020
  4. Averchenkova A, Gannon KE, Patrick C (2019) Governance of climate change policy: A case study of South Africa. London: Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science
  5. Department Of Environmental Affairs Notice 275 OF 2017, Government Gazette, 3 April 2017

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard, South Africa, Rugare Zhou



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