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To Tax or Trade (or Both or Neither)? The Confusing South African Status Quo on Carbon Taxation and Emissions Trading

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/CCLR/2012/4/231

Andrew Gilder


South Africa has a rapidly evolving climate change policy environment, which is in keeping with the country’s view of itself as a developing country leader in the climate change arena. Part of the policy environment includes attention to financial mechanisms that can be marshaled in support of the response to climate change. Flowing from the notion of using financial mechanisms in this manner, the South African National Treasury has taken initial steps towards the implementation of carbon taxation over emissions trading. While Treasury’s progress towards carbon taxation is in keeping with its primary role in financial matters, a dichotomy exists between Treasury’s view on how revenue raised from carbon taxation should be applied and the view of the Department of Environmental Affairs (which is the custodian of the national climate change policy). This article explores these and related issues with the purpose of giving a flavour and the status quo of the debate around carbon taxation and emissions trading in South Africa.

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