‘Low Hanging Fruit Always Rots First: Observations from South Africa’s Crony Carbon Market.’
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In what follows the first in-depth study of the South African carbon market is undertaken. The study begins by laying out the current state of the global carbon market and some related critiques. Turning to the South African context, four Clean Development Mechanism projects are examined in-depth. These include the controversial Bisasar Road Landfill project in Durban, the Sasol fuel-switching project in Sasolburg, plus the South Bellville Landfill gas capture and the Kuyasa low-cost housing energy upgrade projects in Cape Town. In addition to analyzing these projects this study also examines the social and institutional capacity in South Africa to provide oversight of this market. Through this examination it is shown that many of the more dubious trends in the global carbon market are being replicated in South Africa, particularly around the so-called “low-hanging fruit” projects that generate a lot of cheap credits but few other benefits. Just how this situation might get resolved is the focus of the concluding chapter that offers a number of suggested reforms.