Energy Policy, Air Quality, and Climate Mitigation in South Africa: The Case for Integrated Assessment

  • Carmen Klausbruckner
  • Lucas R. F. Henneman
  • Peter Rafaj
  • Harold J. Annegarn


Background and significance: South Africa reports approximately 20,000 premature deaths due to air pollution annually. Policy in South Africa has typically addressed greenhouse gas emissions, energy supply, and air quality separately. Integrated assessment provides a framework in which policies related to these topics can be evaluated simultaneously. Methodology: The present study provides an overview of legal and policy documents and reviews available literature concerning existing energy, climate, and air quality policies in South Africa to highlight inconsistencies of different policy approaches and identify possible co-benefits. Previous applications of integrated assessment in South Africa are discussed as approaches to provide evidence-based decision support. Application/relevance to systems analysis: The analysis and results demonstrate that a complete analysis of the energy and industry sectors can identify inefficiencies and opportunities. The system was analysed through both a policy lens and a technical application of an integrated assessment model. Policy and/or practice implications: Multiple potential policy options have been identified for South Africa to meet future energy demand and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Combining GHG mitigation policies with subsidies to encourage the use of electricity or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking is most promising to avoid trade-offs. Discussion and conclusion: The goal of this work is to provide an argument for assessing energy, air quality, and climate change policies in an integrated assessment framework. Examples of current policy inconsistencies have been presented and published work detailing policy options to attain defined climate-related goals discussed. Integrated assessment can help to identify co-benefits and is a useful tool to improve decisions in complex policy environments. It is therefore recommended that integrated assessment tools be used to gain useful information for decision-making concerning climate change and air quality policies.


Energy policy Air quality Integrated assessment Greenhouse gas Climate change mitigation  


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Klausbruckner
    • 1
  • Lucas R. F. Henneman
    • 2
  • Peter Rafaj
    • 3
  • Harold J. Annegarn
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard University T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases ProgramInternational Institute for Applied Systems AnalysisLaxenburgAustria
  4. 4.Department of Geography and Environmental SciencesNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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