Energy Research Centre


About ERC


Download publications

Postgraduate education

Seminars & courses

Journal of Energy

E. Management News

Coming energy events


Contact ERC


Development & Mitigation Forum





Energy, environment and climate change
research group


This group researches the intersection between energy, local environment and global climate change. It aims to contribute to minimising impacts of energy use and production, from social, economic and environmental perspectives. Internationally and in South Africa, energy is the sector contributing most to global climate change and to local air pollution. The members of the group seeks to deepen their understanding of these problems, and develop creative policy solutions. Energy solutions for climate change mitigation that are grounded in national circumstances need to be formulated and implemented urgently. Environmentally sensitive planning of energy for sustainable development is a key national priority.

Local environmental issues include indoor air pollution and environmental health, external costs of local pollution, environmental taxes and subsidies for energy, renewable energy, environmental, household energy efficiency, and energy for sustainable development.

Research themes relating to global climate change include mitigation, greenhouse gas inventories, the impact of potential future allocation schemes on SA, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), capacity building and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. This includes strategic analysis to evaluate and prioritise mitigation opportunities, methodologies economic and financial analysis, as well as emission baselines for CDM projects. Our emphasis lies in demonstrating how these projects can benefit the poor.

Information to support South Africa’s intended nationally determined contribution for the 2015 Agreement on climate change: Various documents

Click here for a Powerpoint presentation on the work of this group

Working papers from the CDKN project on linking sectoral and economy-wide models. Click here.

Climate change mitigation: Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Presentation by Harald WInkler and Sam Keen,

Click here for presentations made at the discussion and feedback session on the proposed carbon tax, held on 1 November 2013  at the  University of Cape Town.

See our blog about COP 17 and the evolving South African climate change policy space

Equitable Access to Sustainable Development: A 90-page paper collaboratively produced by leading climate change experts from Brazil, South Africa, India and China, released at COP 17. Link to a page giving access to the book and various presentations connected to it.

Climate COP decisions on biennial update reports; international consultation and analysis; domestic MRV (measurable, reportable and verifiable actions) by developing countries; registry of mitigation actions and support Click here


The Energy, environment and climate change  research group, 2013


Current projects in which the group is centrally involved

• Research into the Feasibility of Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) in Africa

The focus of this project is a scoping study for a possible African-focused Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) programme. This project will evaluate the feasibility of a full MAPS Africa engagement over a three-year programme.

Further information on this project


• AIM – Actions for mitigation and impacts on South Africa’s sustainable development goals

In this project, we analyse interventions for climate change mitigation and their contribution to the South African sustainable development goals.

Further information on this project


• Estimating effective carbon prices in South Africa

Analysis of the current instruments for carbon pricing in the energy and transport sector and their impacts on the pulp and paper and cement industries as well as households.

Further information on this project


• Carbon budget methods for South Africa

This research considers the method by which carbon budgets (CB) can be defined for major sectors and sub-sectors in South Africa.

Further information on this project


• Measurement and performance tracking (MAPT)

The goal is to to build capacity and promote shared perspectives and readiness among key stakeholders on the design and implementation of credible systems to make mitigation actions by developing countries measurable, reportable and verifiable.

Further information on this project


• Developing country participation in addressing climate change: Analysing issues and options for implementing NAMAs

This international project focuses on country specific research from Brazil, South Africa, India and China on issues associated with the identification and implementation of NAMAs

Further information on this project


• UNITAR Phase 2

The progamme focuses on the implementation of a project on capacity development for adaptation to climate change and GHG mitigation in Non-Annex I Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Further information on this project

• Transport energy, emissions and policy
(sub-project of UNITAR Phase 2)

Understanding transport energy needs serious attention, as emissions from transport are the third-largest sector. This project seeks to meet that need.

Further information on this project


• Mitigation analysis toolkit for developing countries
(sub-project of UNITAR Phase 2)

The development of a mitigation analysis toolkit which consists of a simple set of accessible tools for mitigation analysis, training in its use, and an online resource for tool users.

Further information on this project


• Climate change and variability: adaptation of deciduous fruit farmers
(sub-project of UNITAR Phase 2)

The deciduous fruit farming industry of the Western Cape is likely to be impacted by climate change. The scoping phase of this project confirmed the benefits of a more detailed follow-up study, considering the impacts on grape farmers.

Further information on this project

• Mitigation action plans and scenarios (MAPS)

The three-year MAPS programme will support South-South collaboration between developing countries in their plans to implement more ambitious mitigation actions.

Further information on this project


Previous projects

• Monitoring of SouthSouthNorth CDM projects in South Africa

Evaluating whether the project design process as laid out in the SSN Project Proposal has been duly implemented

Further information on this project


• Quantifying sustainable development policies and measures (SD-PAMs) in national and international models

This projects aims to link national energy models with international models considering the allocation of emissions allowances. We propose to develop a methodology to create such a linkage using South Africa as a test case to link a bottom up SD-PAMs analysis for South Africa with the MNP/FAIR and Ecofys/ EVOC models. This methodology is to be developed through a collaborative process between analysts from ERC, MNP and Ecofys.

Further information on this project


• Long term mitigation scenario planning

South Africa has the opportunity to proactively define approaches and development paths that we – as a society – consider desirable. At the same time, there is a huge opportunity for international investment in climate-friendly technology.  In other words, we need to work out a range of paths which work for the country.

Further information on this project


• Low carbon society: Global warming statistics for South Africa

This project provides a South African input to the Japan-UK initiative in developing visions for a low-carbon society through sustainable development.

Further information on this project


• Greenhouse gas information management project

The project's two main areas of work are preparing the South African national GHG inventory as an input to the second national Communication to the UNFCCC, and establishing a database and institutionalising a system for data collection on an ongoing basis.

Further information on this project


• C3D – Strengthening human and institutional capacity in developing countries for policy analysis and effective negotiation on climate change

This project, conducted together with partner organisations in Senegal and Sri Lanka, aims to support the building-up of capacities in developing countries, not only to better integrate into the international process, including the forthcoming negotiations, but also to train relevant negotiators and decision makers.

Further information on this project