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South Africa has pledged more ambitious emissions targets, a move hailed by climate activists

BERLIN – South Africa on Monday pledged to meet more ambitious emissions targets, a move hailed by climate activists.

The South African government has informed the UN climate office that it will aim to limit greenhouse gas emissions to a maximum of 510 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2025 and to a maximum 420 million tonnes by 2030.

The new target represents a cap significantly lower than its previous 2016 target of reducing emissions below 614 million tonnes over the next decade. The lower end of the target range has also shifted from 398 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030 to 350 million tonnes.

The new targets mean South Africa’s emissions will decline in absolute terms from 2025, a decade earlier than expected, according to the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think tank.

“South Africa’s new climate commitment is much more ambitious than what the country put forward five years ago when the Paris Agreement was concluded,” said Helen Mountford, vice-president. President for Climate and Economy at WRI.

She added that the country’s updated targets are more in line with the global goal of limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial era.

South Africa aims to increase its use of renewable energy and phase out coal-fired power, while better preparing for the impacts of climate change, such as drought.


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