Evaluating South Africa's environmental policy
UNU-WIDER has developed an energy-economic model together with the National Treasury in South Africa that has been applied by Treasury staff to evaluate national policy and development strategies as well as to a range of policy issues, including the Second Integrated Resource Plan, the National Energy Plan, and the National Health Insurance scheme. UNU-WIDER has provided training and technical support to the Treasury. Initial training focused on a joint research exercise to evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of introducing carbon taxes in South Africa. The findings from these studies have fed directly into internal policy documents within the Treasury that were presented to other government departments. The carbon tax research was presented by Treasury in closed forums organized by the National Planning Commission to foster discussion between key private and public stakeholders (e.g., representatives from mining, metals and energy industries and national airlines, trade unions, environmental groups). The analysis also introduced to the debate the possible inclusion of border tax adjustments to the design of the carbon tax.
Among other items, the results of the carbon tax work have spurred considerable interest in regional energy solutions, with significant engagement from the National Planning Commission alongside the National Treasury. In response to energy analysis needs, UNU-WIDER has led the development of linked economywide and energy planning models. The resulting model for South Africa is world class. The model was developed in collaboration with Energy Research Centre (ERC) at the University of Cape Town and the Economic Policy unit of the National Treasury, which routinely uses the model in its policy consultations with the Department of Energy and Eskom, the parastatal electricity provider.
Finally, UNU-WIDER has been strongly involved in South Africa's Long Term Adaptation Strategies (LTAS) process. This work has been conducted in collaboration with the National Treasury, the National Planning Commission, the South Africa National Biodiversity Institute (SNABI) – the research institution charged with assessing climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies in South Africa – the Department of Environmental Affairs, and a series of other actors. The study represents the first attempt at an integrated approach to assessing the potential impacts of climate change on the national economy of South Africa looking out to 2050. A presentation of preliminary results for the main economic analysis was made at a stakeholders meeting organized by SANBI, attended by more than 100 people, in Johannesburg in January 2014. Climate change work involves a high degree inter-disciplinary collaboration. Hence, a modelers workshop was organized in February 2014 in order to assure correct final articulation across disparate modeling efforts. Intensive modeling sessions were conducted, in close collaboration with National Treasury staff, in March 2014. UNU-WIDER staff led an invited presentation session on LTAS at an invited session organized by the National Treasury in April 2014. A main LTAS report was distributed for public comment in May 2014. A revised version, responding to public comments, was made public in June 2014.
See here for more information on the application of the Development under Climate Change (DUCC) project to South Africa.