National Greenhouse Gas Inventory published for public comment

Submitted by: Nadia Shah, Thursday, July 3, 2014

Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in South Africa have increased by nearly 25% in 10 years. This is according to the latest draft National Greenhouse Gas Inventory which documents South Africa’s GHG emissions profile for the 2010 year and highlights trends for the 2000-2010 period. Members of the public are invited to submit their comments on the draft to the Department of Environmental Affairs by Monday the 7th of July 2014.

The National GHG Inventory was compiled by The Department of Environmental Affairs in response to the country’s international commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which South Africa ratified in 1997.

In the interest of upholding international standards, the inventory was compiled using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 guidelines and software to estimate GHG emissions for South Africa.

In line with the guideline, the report is divided into four main GHG source and sink categories:

  1. Energy
  2. Industrial Processes and other product use (IPPU)
  3. Agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFLOU)
  4. Waste.

In 2010 the total GHG emissions in South Africa were estimated to be at 579,256,000 tCO2eq which is a 24.9% increase from 463,716,000 tCO2eq estimated for 2000. The graph below shows South Africa’s GHG emissions by sector over the reporting period. 

Energy

The Energy sector is the main contributor of GHG emissions in South Africa. This sector includes exploration and exploitation of primary energy sources, conversion of primary energy sources in refineries and power plants, transmission and distribution of fuels and final use of fuels in stationary and mobile applications. In 2000, the energy sector contributed 82.3% to the total GHG inventory, this increased to 85.1% in 2010. The sector is dominated by electricity production which accounted for 67.8% of the sector’s emissions, followed by 9.3% from transport and 8.5% from manufacturing industries and construction.

Industrial processes and other product use (IPPU)

This sector comprises of GHG emissions from industrial processes which physically or chemically transform raw materials as well as the release of GHG emissions in products such as refrigerators, foams and aerosol cans.   Metal industries were identified as the largest contributor in this sector accounting for between 73.5% and 80.3% over the 10 year period. Trends in emissions from this sector are closely aligned with the state of the economy and therefore fluctuated during the 10 year reporting period. Between 2003 and 2006 there was a 10.3% increase in GHG emissions which can be attributed to growing demand due to economic growth experienced during that period. This was followed by a 19.7% decline in GHG emissions between 2006 and 2009 due to the global economic recessions and shortages in electricity experienced.

Agriculture, forestry and other land use

This sector emitted 33,717,000 tCO2eq in 2010 which is a 40.76% increase from the 19,974,000 tCO2eq emitted in 2000. This was primarily caused by the decline in land cover which acts as a CO2 sink.

Emissions from livestock and managing animal waste have declined by 7.3% from 30,502,000 tCO2eq in 2000 to 28,279,000 tCO2eq in 2010, owing to the decline in cattle, sheep and goat populations.

Waste Sector

Emissions in the waste sector are derived from solid waste disposal and waste water treatment and discharge. The total GHG emissions from the waste sector were estimated to have increased by 59.8% from 11,748,000 tCO2 eq in 2000 to 18,773,000 tCO2 eq in 2010. Emissions from solid waste disposal increased by 72.3% over the 10 year period.

The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory is available on the Department of Environmental Affairs website. Members of the public are invited to email their comments to Jongikhaya Witi (jwiti@environment.gov.za) by Monday the 7th of July 2014.

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