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South African Government Green Lights Carbon Credit Trading

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What is decarbonising the grid

The idea of carbon neutrality has been growing in importance since the turn of the century. In 2006, The New Oxford American Dictionary announced ‘Carbon Neutral’ as its Phrase of the Year. And following the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change which came into force on 4 November 2016, carbon neutrality by 2050 has become an ever-more pressing concern for governments and citizens across the globe.

A “carbon credit” is a unit that represents one tonne of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent) that has been permanently reduced from the atmosphere. A carbon credit is “retired” when it is purchased for carbon offsetting purposes and subsequently cancelled or “retired” on the Gold Standard, COAS, CDM or other approved Registry. This means that the carbon credit that represents energy produced or tCO2e reduced in that month can no longer be bought or sold in the future.

Most African countries receive better solar irradiance than countries above the equator of the globe. The interlinked nature of commodity trade means that sustainability matters everywhere and to everyone. Some countries have even effected penalties of EUR 70 per tCO2e if sustainable impacts are not correctly accounted for by local associations and companies annually. The creation of country level carbon tax pricing and policymaking has helped create floor pricing and an enabling environment for global commodity trading marketplaces of 2021 and beyond.

The South African Carbon Tax Act came into effect on 1 June 2019 with sum of the greenhouse gas emissions of a taxpayer in respect of a tax period expressed as the carbon dioxide. In South Africa the coal emissions intensity for electricity generation is high such that 1MW produces or requires 1.4 to 2 tons of CO2 meaning credits can have greater value and climate change impact.

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