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Bloomberg

South Africa’s Treasury intends using 11 pilot projects that it instituted to track climate-change related expenditure as a starting point to determine how to incorporate environmental factors and objectives into the national budget. 

The so-called climate-budget tagging pilot projects, which began last year and are due to be completed next month, “will help improve future spending on mitigation and adaptation measures,” and strengthen cooperation between spheres of government when it comes to responding to climate change, the Treasury said in response to emailed questions.

South Africa, the world’s 13th-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has set a target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as climate risks build. The eastern KwaZulu-Natal province suffered the worst flooding in almost three decades during a severe storm in April, and scientists collaborating under the World Weather Attribution initiative have warned that heavy rainfall can be expected to occur more regularly due to global warming caused by greenhouse-gas emissions. 

Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which relies on coal for more than 80% of its electricity, needs to spend $250 billion over the next three decades closing down its coal-fired power plants and replacing them with green energy, according to a study by the Blended Finance Taskforce and the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University. 

While it’s premature to outline how a transition to cleaner energy will impact on the budget, “there are clear opportunities to integrate climate change into infrastructure investments and thus leverage fiscal resources and mobilize blended finance, create jobs and ensure more resilient, sustainable and productive cities,” the Treasury said. It has already begun working with metropolitan councils to ensure climate resilience is factored into the development and financing of infrastructure projects. 

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