Sustainability of electricity supply and climate change in South Africa



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UNEP Risø Centre


University of Cape Town

Global responses to climate change are gradually considering the potential synergies between sustainable development and climate change policies. In the coming years developing countries face great challenges in development and its impact on climate. The path of development chosen by the region, upon which lies the future growth of energy and emission trajectories, would be greatly influenced by technological developments, economic cooperation between countries, and global cooperation in mitigation and adaptation of climate change. In many developing countries policies that are sensible from a climate change perspective can emerge as side-benefits of sound development programmes. In the energy sector, for example, price reforms, sector restructuring, and the introduction of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies - all undertaken without any direct reference to climate change - can mitigate climate and other environmental risks while achieving their main goal of enhancing economic and social development. Moreover national development policies in these countries pay considerable attention to extending developmental benefits to the poor people. These include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring primary education for all, women empowerment, enhancing life expectancy, energy access to all, and environmental sustainability. Most of these align with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and also enhance the adaptive capacities of the populations towards adverse impacts of climate change.