South Africa pledges more ambitious climate targets

September 27, 2021 GMT

BERLIN (AP) — South Africa pledged more ambitious emissions targets Monday, a move that was welcomed by climate activists.

The South African government informed the U.N. climate office that it will aim to limit greenhouse gas emissions to no more than 510 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025 and no more than 420 million tons by 2030.

The new goal represents a significantly lower ceiling compared to its 2016 previous goal of pushing emissions below 614 million tons in the coming decade. The lower end of the target range was also shifted, from 398 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2030 to 350 million tons.

The new targets mean South Africa’s emissions will decline in absolute terms beginning in 2025, a decade earlier than planned, according to the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think tank.

“South Africa’s new climate commitment is much more ambitious than what the country put forward five years ago when the Paris Agreement was struck,” said Helen Mountford, vice president for climate & economics at the WRI.


She added that the country’s updated targets are more in line with the global goal of limiting worldwide temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times.

South Africa aims to ramp up its use of renewable energy and phase out coal power, while preparing better for the impacts of climate change, such as drought.


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