South Africa: Carbon Tax Bill, South Africa's Climate Change Battlefield

Cracks caused by drought (file photo).

In its bid to tackle climate change, the South African government has thrown most of its weight behind setting a price on carbon emissions. The tabling of the Carbon Tax Bill in late November 2018 was the culmination of a fight that has lasted almost a decade. Given that the combatants are still at it, who are they and what do they stand to lose?

I. Through the eyes of the rich

"The ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement emphasises the reality that we will have to prepare to operate in a carbon-constrained economy over the medium to long-term."

So there you have it: "Reality" as defined by the government of the Republic of South Africa. And yet the wake-up call, hidden in an annexure to a memorandum sent out by National Treasury on 21 November 2018, had nothing on the ice-bucket that was dumped on the sleeping nation the day before.

"Climate change poses the greatest threat facing humankind," finance minister Tito Mboweni declared, during the tabling of the Carbon Tax Bill in parliament on 20 November, "and South Africa intends to play its role in the world as part of the global...

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