A Low-Carbon Transport Future for South Africa: Technical, Economic and Policy Considerations

The South African transport sector, which accounts for 14% of total emissions, is set to potentially become the largest greenhouse gas emitter by 2050 if the current trend of increasing motorisation and defection from public transport persists.

This policy paper provides an analysis of a group of scenarios which look both at technology choices for transport, and overarching transport usage and policies in South Africa.

It explores the potential to decarbonise the transport sector through a combination of two packages of interventions – one on vehicle technology shifts to electric and hybrid vehicles, and one focusing on an orchestrated policy of better spatial planning to promote non-motorised transport and a shift from road to rail.

This work shows that the electrification of transport, contingent on a decarbonised power sector, should be a key policy imperative to decarbonise transport in order to meet the Paris Agreement.