Sustainable Growth

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Climate change and trade risk: South Africa's trade with Russia

South Africa chiefly exports agricultural products and metals to Russia. Exports to Russia account for 0.4% of South Africa’s global exports. Russia is the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Russia continues to invest in coal mining without any substantial climate change commitments. The country lacks a clear climate change mitigation plan and GHG emissions are monitored through light-touch laws, which are seldom enforced. The high-carbon intensity of South Africa’s metals production and agriculture is unlikely to be penalised in the near future. This also provides an opportunity to divert metals exports from more stringently regulated markets into the Russian market.

This brief is based on a comprehensive review of Russia’s climate change policy framework in relation to industries, as well as a review of South Africa’s climate and trade risks. It forms part of a research project for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition examining the vulnerability of South African trade to evolving climate change legislation. The research comprises a main report on The global climate change regime and its impacts on South Africa's trade and competitiveness: A data note on South Africa's exports; case studies on various sectors; detailed briefs that explore South Africa’s trade risks with different countries; and key data in Excel format.

The reports, other country briefs and excel sheets are available at Climate change and trade risks.