The introduction of a carbon tax should be delayed by five years, the Chamber of Mines said in a media release on Wednesday following the publication by the National Treasury of the draft carbon tax bill for public comment.

The Chamber, which still needs to scrutinize the proposed bill, says a delay in the publishing of the bill will be advantageous given the absence of a proper regulatory impact assessment on the economic costs and benefits of imposing such a tax.

Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter says South Africa is already operating below the peak-plateau-decline trajectory of carbon emissions per unit of GDP to which President Jacob Zuma committed the country in Copenhagen in 2009.

“Since South Africa has already achieved these targets, the proposed carbon tax will have no effect in this regard, believes Baxter.”

Further, the imposition of a carbon tax in South Africa would make it the only developing country in the world to do so – ahead of a number of competing developed countries, such as Australia.

Baxter also highlights that in the absence of a global deal on climate change and carbon taxes, for South Africa to adopt a carbon tax would not materially reduce global carbon emissions as the country only accounts for 0.9% of global carbon emissions.

“With electricity prices already having trebled in real terms in the past seven years, further cost increases imposed by carbon taxes could further undermine the embattled mining sector,” Baxter notes.

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