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What Stands in the Way of South Africa’s New Climate Goals

MIN READNov 3, 2021 | 21:11 GMT

The towers of a coal-fired power state are seen on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, on Oct. 13, 2021.

The towers of a coal-fired power state are seen on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, on Oct. 13, 2021.

(MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)

South Africa’s transition away from coal will be slower than what it outlined at the U.N. climate summit due to a lack of funding and domestic political support. Ahead of the ongoing U.N. conference (COP26), South Africa announced it now plans to reduce the country’s yearly emissions to 350-420 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) by 2030, down from its current 480 Mt CO2e per year. Hitting this new target on that timeline, however, will be no small feat: South Africa is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Africa and the 12th largest in the world. It’s also home to the world’s fourth most carbon-intensive economy -- largely due to its reliance on coal, which generates more than three-quarters of the country’s electricity grid. ...

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