South Africa’s Net-Zero Transition: Towards a Just, Climate-Resilient, Prosperous Future for South Africa

Lucas Chaumontet Kesh Mudaly Fiona Tokple Tariq Allie-Ebrahim

Our analysis of South Africa’s Just Transition to net-zero by 2050 offers several key findings:

1. South Africa must act now to unlock new green opportunities to deliver a just, prosperous, and climate-resilient SA and avoid the massive cost of inaction.
2. South Africa can be net-zero and capture new green opportunities by 2050 – but large-scale action with international support is needed. This includes an urgent expansion of the grid by at least 30 GW by 2030, rapid roll-out of renewables of ~6-7 GW per year, and capturing the green H2 opportunity to establish a ~9.5 Mt p.a. green H2 industry that creates as many as 2.5 mn job-years by 2050.
3. At least ~ZAR 6 trillion is required for mitigation infrastructure investments to transition to net-zero by 2050, with over ~ZAR 1 trillion required by 2030 without accounting for mid-term cost impacts. The public sector must unlock private sector investment through concessional funding. ~ZAR 100 – 350 billion concessional funding could unlock the necessary commercial funds for the ~ZAR 1 trillion investment required by 2030.
4. Although transitioning to net-zero can preserve the economy, secure long-term competitiveness and create new green industries, it must be managed and outcomes monitored across the 3 pillars of a Just Transition: Procedural Justice, Distributive Justice and Restorative Justice.
5. The sum of individual actions, even bold ones, will not be enough to meet this challenge. We need collaboration and a coordinated approach to successfully decarbonise and ensure a Just Transition by 2050.

To access our full report on Financing South Africa's Just Transition, please click here.