A Just Transition to a competitive, net-zero South Africa hinges on the nation’s ability to unlock its world-class renewable-energy resources at scale and at an unprecedented pace.
The Climate Pathways and Just Transition study (conducted by the National Business Initiative, Business Unity South Africa, and BCG) assesses what it would take to achieve a net-zero South Africa by 2050 and to ensure a just transition, which aims to move South Africa to a net-zero economy that is socially resilient and inclusive. The study is to date one of the most robust, transparent, and inclusive examinations of climate change in South Africa.
It finds that responding to climate change in South Africa is fundamentally about economic competitiveness and lifting people out of poverty, inequality, and unemployment, while contributing to the global goal of reducing carbon emissions.
By developing an energy system anchored in renewables, South Africa can solve its current energy crisis and improve the affordability, availability, and reliability of its power supply—all while enabling new green industries to help create a globally competitive economy that is resilient to trade risk arising from the transition to net zero.
A net-zero South Africa, with a diversified and competitive economy, hinges on access to affordable, reliable, clean energy. Without fast and large-scale deployment of renewables, all other activities needed to achieve net zero and capture new green economic opportunities—such as green H2—will not be achievable.
New economic opportunities must be pursued with an unprecedented focus, leveraging South Africa’s competitive advantages: the availability of high-quality renewables, access to key commodities, existing knowledge and skills, existing trade partnerships, and a young and growing population.