The South African regulatory framework pertaining to bio-energy as a climate change mitigation driver in SADC
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Abrupt changes in our planetary climate system are one of the greatest threats to humanity's continued existence on the planet. These changes are exacerbated by the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere as a result of various anthropogenic activities. To curb this atmospheric anomaly, the international climate change mitigation mandate was established under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), the Kyoto Protocol (1996) and the Paris Agreement (2015). However, as the energy sector accounts for a vast majority of these emissions, discrepancies exist surrounding the extent to which countries have contributed to climate change. Therefore, the mandate prescribed by these instruments is subject to equity considerations such as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Subsequently, mitigation within the energy sector facilitates a significant role in addressing the rate at which the greenhouse effect impacts on the global climate. Accordingly, renewable energy provides a means to displace fossil-fuels and mitigate climate change while continuing to nurture the development aspirations of individual countries. In this respect, many of the countries in the Southern African Development Community have a large proportion of their population that are without modern energies such as electricity. Consequently, traditional bio-energy technologies are still widely exploited within these areas to meet the energy demands of these indigenous people. However, as a region rich in biomass this renewable form of energy should not be exploited frivolously and should rather be managed in a way which allows for the development of these traditional bio-energy technologies along with their modern counterparts. Subsequently, this study explores these bio-energy considerations, conducting a country-specific analysis identifying how the South African regulatory framework on bio-energy contributes to achieving the objective of climate change mitigation in SADC.
- Law