Summary Updated: August 2017. Declaration of Greenhouse Gases as Priority Air Pollutants and National Pollution Prevention Plans Regulations published by the Department of Environmental Affairs on 21 July 2017
South Africa has an emissions intensive economy, however the government is committed to shifting the country to a lower-carbon economy. At the end of 2015, South Africa submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 in Paris. South Africa’s INDC commits the country to a “peak, plateau and decline” emission trajectory, to ensure that global average temperatures do not exceed 2 degrees centigrade. A global average temperature increase of 2 degrees centigrade translates up to 4 degrees centigrade for South Africa by the end of the century.
In light of this, the Department of Environmental Affairs is developing a range of policies and measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Three of these that are closely linked are carbon budgets, the declaration of greenhouse gases as priority air pollutants and the pollution prevention plans. A carbon budget is a greenhouse gas emissions allowance that can be allocated on a per company basis. Carbon budgets are generally allocated for a period of several years, normally five years. Company emissions are then reported to the Department against the carbon budget.
The Department of Environmental Affairs has indicated that the carbon budget process is based on a phased approach, with the first phase of the system running from 2016 to 2020. Phase 1 is a voluntary pilot, while phase 2 is expected to be mandatory, post 2020.
Phase 1 - the clay Brick sector is not included.
Carbon budgets were allocated to companies using a bottom-up approach, in which consideration was given to the operational requirements of the company concerned. In addition the first phase of carbon budgets does not contain penalties for companies exceeding their emissions within their allocated carbon budget.
Planning for phase 2 of carbon budgets is currently underway. The Department plans to include more industries during phase 2, which may include clay brick manufacturers. Clay brick manufacturers therefore need to pay more attention to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and emission reduction initiatives. Engagement during the public participation for phase 2 of the carbon budgets, would be beneficial for the Clay Brick Association.
Pollution prevention plans outline the mitigation projects that a company plans to implement in order to keep their emissions within their allocated carbon budget.
Download the Technical Note #26 on this regulation (updated August 2017)