Policy makers in South Africa would have to focus their efforts on placing a price on carbon in the next few years, said Paul Curnow, Sydney-based partner with global law firm Baker & McKenzie.
Like Australia, which plans to introduce a carbon tax in July 2012, South Africa would have to look at measures, such as a trading scheme or other carbon-related instruments, in the next decade to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions, he added.
“The expectations created for South Africa following the two-week-long climate talks in Durban are not immediate, but rather medium to long term.”
Curnow believed that carbon markets were an important mechanism for the implementation of the international climate change regime.
As such, the ‘Durban Platform’, which sets out the outcomes of the seventeenth Conference of the Parties, has to a certain degree removed the uncertainty regarding carbon markets, the Clean Development Mechanism and other market-based mechanisms.
This was attributed to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the first commitment period of which comes to an end in December 2012.
The flexible mechanisms established under the Kyoto Protocol are among the principle drivers of the development of such markets especially in developing countries.
This year, only 38 industrialised countries agreed to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol from January 1, 2013.
Parties to this second period would turn their economy-wide targets into quantified emission-limitation or reduction objectives and submit them for review by May 1, 2012.
Developed countries not entering into a second commitment period, are subject to international assessment and reporting transparency and accountability procedures.
The key issues for the carbon market, said Curnow, now remained around demand, which historically filtered from emission trading schemes.