South Africa is due to publish by next week a draft carbon tax bill, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday, adding that the government could opt to delay its planned 2016 introduction.
In a speech to launch his medium term budget outlook, Nene confirmed the draft would be published for comment later this month and would be part of a package of measures the country will take as its contribution to the December UN climate talks in Paris.
But he told journalists that whether the tax will be implemented in 2016 or later “will depend on discussions we are having” with industry.
The government had made initial plans to set it at 120 rand per tonne ($8.90), which would apply to major emitters including steelmaker ArcelorMittal and utility Eskom.
But in 2014, the government delayed by one year its implementation until 2016 to allow more time for planning and consultation with stakeholders.
Initial government proposals allowed emitters to use carbon offsets from domestic or possibly regionally-located projects, to help meet their tax obligations.
Last year, consultancy Promethium Carbon ran a test study to launch offset trade on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
More than 80% of South Africa’s rising greenhouse gas emissions come from its coal-dominant energy sector.
By Ben Garside – email@example.com