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31 July 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha
State-owned South African Airways (SAA) aims to decrease its carbon footprint by using biofuel for 50 per cent of its fuel supply by 2020.
The announcement was made by public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba at the launch of the Climate Change Policy Framework for state-owned companies. The framework aims to reduce carbon emissions while developing the green economy in both South Africa and the region, without compromising the financial viability of companies.
A technical and supply chain working group consisting of state-owned enterprises and relevant government departments will construct an initial aviation biofuel strategy to be announced by autumn to achieve the 50 per cent biofuel goal.
"This will create a pressing demand for an extremely large quantity of biofuels which can form a base load against which a fully vertically integrated biofuels industry can develop in South Africa as well as in the Southern African region," said Gigaba.
SAA is making the move towards bio-fuel in a bid to avoid financial penalties for carbon emissions imposed by the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which requires all airlines flying through EU airspace to pay 15 per cent of their polluting carbon emissions for 2012. As a result of the EU scheme it is estimated around 4,000 airlines will pay for EU pollution permits. The aim of the scheme is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
In response to the scheme, water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa said: “We do see that [EU ETS scheme] as a challenge currently and we will be responding accordingly."