Socio-Economic Considerations for a Paris Agreement-Compatible Coal Transition in South Africa

How does South Africa manage its coal phase-out? Go to video.

  • Coal has been integral to South Africa’s energy system and economy for decades,
    but is increasingly uncompetitive and creates considerable risks – economic,
    social, and environmental – for the country.
  • A Paris-compatible mitigation pathway will mean the phase out of coal in the
    power and liquid fuels sectors by 2040
  • Given the high levels of poverty and unemployment in South Africa, energy and
    climate policy needs to contribute to a development pathway that addresses
    these socio-economic challenges
  • A just transition is required so that coal dependent regions and workers are not
    stranded by the energy transition or by climate change policy
  • A just transition also addresses the development challenges facing the country
  • Transition planning needs to consider worker transition schemes, local economic
    resilience and the development of new sectors
  • We outline proposed interventions that could form a just transition package for
    South Africa


  • Energy Research Centre, University of Capetown