School of Transnational Governance

Climate change: South African and European experts discuss carbon pricing

The STG and CPLC join hands with selected G20 countries to look at the role of carbon pricing in the fight against climate change. A first workshop takes place this week in Cape Town.

In Cape Town, South African and European experts are meeting to discuss how emerging economies, such as South Africa, can build on existing carbon pricing initiatives as a means of implementing commitments under the Paris Agreement in a socially just and environmentally effective way. The workshop is part of a new initiative by the European University Institute’s (EUI) School of Transnational Governance (STG) and the World Bank’s Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC). 

“Through its Emission Trading System, the European Union has been taking the lead in putting a price on carbon emissions. South Africa has already introduced a carbon tax. By bringing experts together we hope to take these crucial measures to the next level,” said STG Professor Jos Delbeke. Delbeke was the Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action from its creation in 2010 until 2018.

The workshop involves South African experts at senior management level from the public and private sector, along with academics and environmental NGOs. Local actors were heavily involved in the preparation of the workshop, tailored for South Africa’s circumstances as a highly coal-based economy where creating jobs and improving livelihoods are necessary first priorities.

“Discussing together the challenges of implementing the Paris Agreement provides an opportunity to compare policy-learning that ensures a socially just transition, as well one that works for the economy in terms of competitiveness and growth opportunities,” said Mandy Rambharos of South African electricity provider EsKom.  

On the agenda

The three-day workshop in Cape Town allows participants to share experiences and offer insights about putting a price on carbon, either through taxes, through cap-and-trade systems, or through offsets.

They also discuss the organisation of national energy markets to encourage low-carbon investments, and sustainable finance opportunities.

The South African and European experts foresee a follow-up dialogue to be continued after the workshop focusing on concrete activities and establishing relevant linkages with all aspects of the South Africa-EU strategic partnership.

Next stop: India

In September 2020, a second workshop will take place in Delhi, India. Based on the blueprints of Cape Town and Delhi, additional workshops may be organised in other G20 countries.

The programme is financed by the European Union’s Partnership Instrument and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in the context of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).