Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for South Africa.
South Africa’s energy mix is powered mostly by coal- about 77% of the country’s primary energy needs are provided by coal. Coal-fired power plants account for almost half of the country’s carbon emissions, which has resulted in South Africa warming at a rate twice the global average and making droughts more extreme and frequent.
Its Integrated Resource Plan commits to reducing the country’s reliance on coal for energy, however investments in coal continue and under current policies, South Africa will not meet its targets for reducing carbon emissions by 2030.
- The government approved its Integrated Resource Plan in late 2019, which reduces the role of coal and increases the adoption of renewables and gas.
- The plan marks a major shift in energy policy for a coal-dominated country like South Africa, aiming to decommission over 35 GW of coal-fired power capacity from state-owned coal and utility giant Eskom by 2050.
- South Africa’s Paris Agreement target includes an effective 17-78% above 1990 levels over the period 2025-2030.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.