South Africa Launches Green Transport Strategy
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The transport sector is the most rapidly growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa.

All GST interventions or measures must be ‘SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely’.

The Strategy will enable the transport sector to contribute to national efforts to combat climate change; it will also lead to increased access to employment opportunities for poor communities due to improved public transport and public health benefits.

June 2019: South Africa has launched the country’s first Green Transport Strategy (GTS) to promote a transport system that is environmentally friendly and helps boost economic growth and create jobs.In South Africa, the transport sector is the most rapidly growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and its continued growth is expected to have an increasing impact on biodiversity, air quality, land resources and water quality. It accounts for 10.8% of emissions in the country, with road transport responsible for 91.2% of that.

The GTS, launched by the Department of Transport (DoT) in 2018, aims to minimize the adverse impact of transport on the environment, while addressing current and future transport demands, and encourages electric vehicle use and public transport enhancement. The strategy is expected to lead to increased access to employment opportunities for poor communities due to improved public transport and public health benefits.

The Strategy will, inter alia: enable the transport sector to contribute its “fair share” to national efforts to combat climate change; promote behavioral changes towards sustainable mobility alternatives through information, education and awareness raising; engage the sector’s low-carbon transition, to help align and develop policies that promote energy efficiency and emission control measures in all transport modes; and facilitate a just transition toward a climate resilient transport system.

To achieve these objectives, the GST highlights :

  • ensuring that South Africa has environmentally sustainable low carbon fuels by 2022 by converting 5% of the public and national sector fleet to cleaner alternative fuel and efficient technology vehicles;
  • promoting fuel economy norms and standards and implementing regulations that promote improved efficiency in fossil-fuel powered vehicles;
  • ensuring a modal shift from road to rail transport by encouraging a 30% shift for freight transport, from road to rail, and a 20% shift of passenger transport from private cars to public and eco-mobility transport;
  • investing in green energy infrastructure, such as like biogas filling stations and electric car charging points;
  • reviewing current levels of the environmental levy on new motor vehicle CO2 emissions and expanding it to commercial vehicles; and
  • helping ensure that freight vehicles only enter urban hubs during off-peak hours, by possibly implementing road freight permits and road-use charges.

The strategy requires long-term finance and investment, as well as supplementary work to prepare detailed business plans for investing in transport-related mitigation, with economic opportunities in the public and private sectors. All GST interventions or measures must be ‘SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely,’ and an internal review period will be implemented every three years. [IPEEC News Story] [GTS for South Africa: 2018-2050]

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