A legal framework for the promotion of renewable energy in South Africa : a critical analysis
The accepted scientific opinion is that anthropogenic activities and correlated greenhouse gases are the main cause of climate change, with carbon dioxide releases from fossil fuels being one of the main culprits. In South Africa, the main sources of energy have always been coal and other fossil fuels. Society and the economy alike are heavily reliant on energy consumption. In light of the above, it is clear that drastic steps need to be taken to "clean up" the nation's energy sector and usage patterns. There is an international tendency towards a so-called "green economy," which finds the relation between economic development, social upliftment and conservation of the natural environment. A green economy relies less on carbon inputs, and utilises resources efficiently, whilst taking a "socially inclusive" approach. It therefore makes sense to draw on renewable natural resources in greening the economy. Some of the advantages of renewable energy are that they result in limited or no emissions, the creation of sustainable jobs, improved health of consumers and enhanced energy security. A shift to a green economy cannot take place in a vacuum. The laws and policies regulating the various sectors of the environment; energy generation, distribution and use; investment opportunities and economic factors must stimulate and drive this move, and must create an optimal atmosphere to this end. This study determines how suitable the current South African legal framework is for a shift towards a green economy based on renewable energy, and whether it can successfully catalyse and drive such a shift.
- Law