South Africa is the most carbon-intensive economies, as per its per capita emission of greenhouse gases. According to Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) the South African economy is 5 to 0 times less carbon efficient than the US, the UK or Japan, along with China.

The government of South Africa has plans to diversify its energy mix and has set targets to reduce emission, whihc is being hampered by high costs, while electricity tariffs do not reflect the cost of generation.

Alan Brent, a sustainable energy researcher with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, said: “We could not do it, it was impossible and this is an issue that needs to be addressed through industrial policy. We are going to the Copenhagen conference in December and we are inevitably going to move into a carbon constraint environment.”

The WWF’s Saliem Fakir, said: “SA needs a dual strategy for economic growth. On the one hand we have to recognise that we have a high dependency on fossil fuels and on the other we need to look at the energy sector from a supply, demand a growth point of view.”