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Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS)

Author: Harald Winkler - Energy Research Centre (ERC): University of Cape Town

( Article Type: Explanation )

The Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) process that took place in South Africa between 2005 and 2008 was a Cabinet-mandated process led by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. At a technical level, it was a unique blend of facilitated stakeholder process and rigorous research.
The LTMS arose out of the realisation that South Africa would need to contribute its fair share to mitigation. Mitigation means reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, which in our country come mainly from energy use and supply. Whilst historically, our economy has been built around the minerals-energy complex, South Africa needs to address poverty and inequality.
Moving to a low carbon development path requires a major shift in thinking and in action. The blend of process and research was critical; having accurate numbers builds confidence, but equally important is for a wide range of people agree that the numbers are credible. The LTMS research was peer-reviewed twice and was found to be of best practice to the extent that reviewers recommended sharing the experience with other developing countries. The LTMS set up a scenario-building team, composed of strategic thinkers from government, business and civil society. Stefan Raubenheimer of Tokiso facilitated the process. The scenario team was informed by four research groups, coordinated by Professor Harald Winkler of the Energy Research Centre (ERC) at UCT.
The research found that, without constraints, emissions will quadruple by mid-century. There is a huge gap between such a path and what is required by science ; which is absolute emission reductions by 2050. The LTMS team explored a wide range of detailed mitigation actions and proposals for four strategic options that South Africa can pursue. The technical work has been published in various reports and also in book form, Taking Action on Climate Change.#33 The technical and process work led back to Cabinet, which in mid-2008 adopted a peak, plateau and decline trajectory. A strategic direction was set ; our emissions will grow for a while, but peak between 2020 and 2025 at 550 Mt CO2-eq, remain flat for a decade, and decline in absolute terms from 2030-35 onwards. This was a major step by a developing country in the climate negotiations. In Copenhagen in December 2009, President Zuma internationalised this pledge. He committed South Africa to take mitigation action that will reduce our emissions by 34% below the BAU trajectory by 2020, as long as others do their bit and there is support from developed countries.
The scenario document of the LTMS is downloadable from LTMS/A%20LTMS%20Scenarios%20for%20SA.pdf and a complete set of LTMS documents is downloadable from htm. A book based on the LTMS research ‘Taking Action on Climate Change: Long-term mitigation scenarios for South Africa’ (2010) outlines the research work done for the LTMS and is available from UCT Press / Juta Publishers.