In 2013, Boyan Slat began to question the large volumes of plastic accumulating in our oceans and why no one was doing anything to clean it up. At 16 years old, he began research into potential solutions to effectively recover and remove it

South African Carbon Projects and Carbon Tax

GCX Africa continuously receives a enquiries about setting up carbon projects to unlock financial value from carbon emission reductions. What are people asking?


Often people and organisations that contact us are confused about;

  • how the carbon markets work?
  • what carbon credits are?
  • what all the carbon acronyms stand for?
  • the carbon project registration process in South Africa?

To shed light on the above questions, we now host a Carbon Credits Masterclass which helps address all these questions and more!

There are many opportunities that exist within the carbon trading, and carbon project development landscape in South Africa, but the information is very hard to come by or to make sense of. This course is specifically geared towards would-be carbon project developers of any carbon project (including, large industrial projects, energy efficiency projects community development projects, renewable energy projects, agricultural sector projects and others) as well as environmental consultants.

The course starts off at a level that requires no previous knowledge of carbon offsets or carbon trading and answering basic questions to build a foundation of knowledge for the more complex subjects of carbon markets, project registration and South African carbon credit trading.

The facilitators of this training course are the same GCX experts who have been involved in more than 20 successful carbon project registrations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our latest involvement in a carbon project included the technical support for the registration of the Wonderbag Eco-cooker under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The project has just sold over 20 000 tones of VER’s (Verified Emission Reductions) to offset part of Microsoft’s carbon footprint in the USA.

Last year we read in Kevin James’ article The State of SA Carbon Projects that the landscape for carbon projects in South Africa has changed significantly. Until the 17th international annual climate conference, COP17 that was held in Durban in 2011, opportunity for South African carbon project developers was mostly to generate and sell carbon offsets called CER’s (Certified Emission Reductions).

These CER’s were sold from countries classified as “developing countries” to companies in those countries classed as “developed” that are bound by the emissions reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions. The CER’s are traded in the mandatory market via the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) , the biggest carbon trading platform in the world. One of the outcomes of COP17 was the altering of the eligibility for sale of CERs in the ETS from developing countries to “least developed countries”. South Africa is a developing country, but is certainly not a “least developed country”, therefore we are no longer able to generate the CERs that can be traded on the mandatory market.

This may sound like a blow to carbon project developers, but when the 2014 South African carbon tax takes effect the demand for carbon credits via the voluntary market in South Africa will transform the carbon trading landscape of South Africa into a lucrative space. To ensure increased tax free thresholds, companies will be encouraged to reduce their CO2 emissions. To help them reduce their CO2 emissions in order to reduce tax liabilities, South African companies will most likely be able to purchase carbon credits from verifiable projects to offset a proportion of their carbon obligation. This means that there is great scope for South African carbon projects to sell their credits in South Africa to local companies via a regional carbon trading scheme.

Attending this course will save potential carbon projects developers months, possibly years of research, hundreds of thousands of Rands at the various stages of the South African carbon project registration process, and will significantly mitigate the risk of not meeting the project registration requirements after considerable time and money has been invested.

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