South Africa is ahead of its climate emissions targets. But, as with many occurrences in the twenty-first century, it’s somewhat of a left-handed gift. In order to have emissions, you need industry. For industry to function, electricity is required. You can probably see where this is going.
That’s correct, Eskom is the reason South Africa is ahead of its 2025 climate target. The country’s coal-burning power stations are spending loads of time inoperable, reducing the country’s carbon footprint. Then, up to ten hours of outages a day also limits how much factories and other entities are able to emit carbon gases.
Emissions failed successfully
Crispian Olver, of the Presidential Climate Commission, said in an interview, “It’s unintentional”. Despite this, South Africa is on track to meet its 2030 emissions target. That will remain the case even if SA’s ageing coal plants stick around for longer. The reason? These plants spend so little time operating that they won’t make much difference to climate targets.
South Africa pledged to cut its carbon output to between 350 and 420 megatons by 2030, a 2021 promise that secured the country around R160 billion in overseas funding. Eskom, entirely unintentionally, has made sure that the country is well on its way to keeping that promise. Unfortunately, the rest of the country is paying for it.