Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and emission reductions from the South African economy have, since 2000, been collected and reported in various forms and for various purposes.
The two main drivers were the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which is responsible for reporting the South African National GHG Inventory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the private sector interested in carbon footprint calculations and obtaining carbon credits for emission reductions activities.
The Department of Energy (DoE) has increasingly promoted energy efficiency in the past five years through policies, tax incentives and, since February 2012, through the publishing of mandatory reporting requirements in the government gazette.
Energy management and energy efficiency are closely related to GHG management and emission reductions and typically form the largest part of the carbon footprint of a typical South African manufacturing company.
The Minister of Energy may request energy and GHG data from companies or industry bodies. Disclosure information includes volumes, prices, efficiency, type of energy and energy services used within the residential, industrial, mining, commercial, transport, agriculture as well as other sectors.
Disclosures may also include data and information describing the quantity and nature of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of the data provider's economic activities and processes. More details are given in the regulations on the mandatory provision of energy data, Regulation 142 published in the Government Gazette 24 February 2012.
The requirements for GHG reporting, in general, are guided by national and international guidelines that each entity has been using or are required to use.
The Department of Environmental Affairs divides the SA economy according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for national GHG inventories into four categories. South Africa's total GHG emissions in 2000 are estimated to be 461 178,5 Gg CO2 equivalents (461 million tons CO2e).
83% of emissions were associated with energy supply and consumption with 7% from industrial processes, excluding fuel combustion or electricity consumption, both reported as Energy; 8% from agriculture excluding fuel combustion reported as Energy and Sewage; and 2% from Waste; as shown in the diagram below. These figures exclude emissions or sinks from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities within the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use (AFOLU) sector.
These AFOLU activities contribute 2 057 Gg CO2e as a source but also provide a sink of 20 751 Gg CO2e to provide a net sink of emissions of 18 694 Gg CO2e.
The Department of Energy, as well as Statistics SA, divides the SA economy¹s energy consumption according to the Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC).
The classification is done according to ten main activities.
In 2006 a total of 2 480 589 TJ of energy was consumed. Industry, residential and transport sectors are the three major energy consuming sectors. The values for residential is boosted by the inclusion of estimated biomass consumption figures.
The category ‘non-energy use' is for energy carriers such as petroleum product solvents, lubricants and bitumen which is not utilized for their energy properties.
For projects to obtain carbon credits, both Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) the classification is done in accordance with the scopes stipulated by Annex A of the Kyoto Protocol. There are 15 scopes. Scopes 1 to 9 are linked to industrial sectors and 10-13 based on sources of GHG emissions. These are the categories in which existing GHG auditor competency is defined. GHG auditors can calculate or verify GHG emissions (carbon footprint) and emission reductions (carbon offset projects). Increasing the number of competent GHG auditors in South Africa is crucial in supporting the various GHG reporting initiatives without incurring excessive costs.
Emission reduction projects in the voluntary market are not in the public domain and they can participate under a range of standards. The South African projects developed under VCS include energy efficiency and agricultural project and can be classified under the scopes of the Kyoto Protocol. The various CDM projects developed in South Africa currently do not cover all the CDM project scopes.
To date (April 2012), 20 South African emission reduction projects registered under the Clean Development Mechanism, and six projects are linked to more than one sectoral scope.
The concern with the different categorization relates to:
- The cost for industry associated with mandatory reporting on GHG emissions and emission activities in different formats for different entities
- The complexity for entities to validate and verify GHG quantifications
- The difficulty for government to construct a sensible Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) to track progress of both emissions and emission reduction activities.
- The challenge for South Africa¹s economy to agree on sectoral carbon budgets as directed by the White Paper on Climate Change November 2011.
The South African Accreditation Services (SANAS) has prioritized a work program to accredit companies (or individuals) for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) validations and verifications.
SANAS, an entity under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has commenced with accreditation of GHG verifications as a new project. The standard ISO14065 has been accepted as a South African Standard, creating consistency with international practices in relation to GHG calculations or verifications.
The expectation is that from February 2013 SANAS will accept applications for accreditations for ISO 14065. The drivers for this program are:
- Carbon tax calculations
- Increased export requirements for carbon footprint declarations
- Carbon trading on the voluntary market
- Mandatory GHG emission reporting
- Potential bilateral agreements
- Calculations or verifications for the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Accreditation reduces the risk to GHG programs by ensuring that verification bodies are competent to carry out the work they undertake. For more information the standard can be bought electronically from the South African Bureau of Standards SANS ISO 14065:2007. Greenhouse gases requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition.
There is a clear need for alignment of reporting delineations. Classifying, training and accrediting competent South African GHG validators or verifiers not only for the current slicing of the SA economy but also for future will require either wisdom or a miracle.