(PM) – The carbon tax will be imposed on greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, and industrial processes and emissions, starting from June 1.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law a carbon tax to cut emissions in South Africa.
The treasury said on Monday that the tax will be imposed from June 1 on greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, and combustion and industrial processes and emissions, a move that has been applauded by the environmentalists.
“Climate change represents one of the biggest challenges facing humankind, and the primary objective of the carbon tax is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a sustainable, cost-effective and affordable manner,” the treasury said in a statement.
The tax was intended to be introduced in 2010, but has been delayed due to opposition in the continent’s worst polluter struggling with low growth and unemployment at nearly 28 percent.
World Wide Fund, commonly known as WWF, said it was a landmark moment for South Africa as President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken into action to tackle the climate change issue.
“While there is still much to be done for the tax to become more effective, we recognize this is a significant first step,” WWF stated in a statement.
The ministry said that the tax was part of South Africa’s initiative to act upon the global climate change agreement brokered in Paris.
Set at 120 rand ($8.30) per ton of carbon dioxide, the tax will be largely offset by allowances to lower it to an effective rate of between six and 46 rand per ton in the first three years.
According to Greenpeace, South Africa is the 14th largest polluter in the world and the largest in Africa.
“We definitely welcome this. It is very, very overdue,” Melisse Steele, a senior campaign manager, said at Greenpeace.
However, she continued saying that even though it was a major step, but Greenpeace expressed that the carbon tax would not be effective enough to combat climate change and saw the tax level was inadequate.
The tax is set to rise at two percent above inflation, currently at 4.5 percent, until 2022 and in line with inflation afterward.