Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in South Africa
"This report is part of the global Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), which aims to understand and demonstrate how countries can transition to a very low-carbon economy. The DDPP is a collaborative global initiative composed of leading researchers and research institutions from 16 countries that collectively are responsible for more than 70% of current global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The South African country research team explored deep decarbonization pathways that focused on development and climate, putting equal emphasis on both goals. Satisfying multiple objectives, e.g., employment, income and GHG reductions, is critical as meeting a carbon constraint is one of many goals, and not necessarily the highest priority in a country such as South Africa, which has extreme and persistent poverty and high unemployment rates. Decarbonization pathways are connected to domestic economic and social structures, as well as global trade, prices, financial flows and international agreements. This report presents the results of two illustrative deep decarbonization pathways for South Africa. Both scenarios are aimed at improving development metrics within a 14 Gt CO2-eq cumulative energy sector carbon constraint. A linked modeling approach is utilized, building on long experience with energy models at ERC and adding a linkage to an economy-wide model. The first scenario explores ways to decrease unemployment by incentivizing growth in sectors with low-carbon emissions and high levels of labour absorption: this is the Economic Structure Scenario. The second scenario mimics significant improvements to the education and training sectors and injects high skilled labour into the economy fundamentally changing the labour force: it is known as the High Skills Scenario."