Minister Creecy publishes the 7th National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report

24 August 2021


South Africa’s 7th National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Report 2000 to 2017 shows that emissions have increased by 10.4% over the 17 year period.

The latest report was published by Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy as part of South Africa’s commitment in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which required countries to not only address climate change, but also to monitor trends in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. 

One of the principal commitments includes to develop, publish and regularly update national emission inventories of greenhouse gases.  Parties to the UNFCCC are also obligated to protect and enhance carbon sinks and reservoirs, such as forests, and implement measures that assist in national and regional climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The 2017 National Inventory Report, compiled in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on  Climate Change (IPCC), will be submitted to the UNFCCC to fulfil South Africa’s reporting obligations. This is done through National Communications (NCs) every four years and the Biennial Update Reports (BURs) every two years.

The latest Report covers sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and removals by sinks, resulting from human or anthropogenic activities for the major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).   Indirect greenhouse gases – carbon monoxide (CO), and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) – are also included for biomass burning.

The gases are reported under four sectors: Energy, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) and Waste.

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) emissions have not yet been included due to a lack of data. However, the DFFE is in discussions with Eskom to obtain historical SF6 data so that it can be included in the next inventory.  Furthermore, a threshold has been set for SF6 in the new GHG reporting regulation so that companies will start reporting data.

The 2000 to 2017 GHG emissions results revealed an increasing trend in emissions in the energy, IPPU, and waste sectors.  The decrease in the net AFOLU sector is due to an increasing Land sink. There was an annual average increase of 2.0% between 2000 and 2009, and then emissions stabilised and declined with an average annual decline of 1.0%.

The information gleaned from the Inventory Report supports policy development and decision-making related to a viable climate change mitigation response as South Africa transitions to a low carbon and climate resilient society as outlined in the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030 and the National Climate Change Response Policy (2011).

“The Inventory is also vital in supporting implementation of South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), to be tabled ahead of the international climate talks in November.  It is also important in terms of supporting national imperatives, such as the implementation of the carbon tax, determining carbon budgets and other climate mitigation instruments so we can achieve the country’s developmental and sustainable development goals,” said Minister Creecy. 

The 7th National GHG Inventory Report can be accessed by clicking on: 


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2000 Emissions (Gg CO2e)1


% Contribution by Sector

2017 Emissions (Gg CO2e)#


% Contribution by Sector

Change Gg CO2e# % Change 2000 to 2017
Energy 349 099,70 78% 410 685,30 80.1% 61 585,60 17.6%
IPPU   32 987,30 7% 32 084,60 6.3%    -902,70 -2.7%
AFOLU (excluding. FOLU) 53 229,40 12% 48 641,80 9.5% -4 587,60 -8.6%
AFOLU (including. FOLU) 41 088,7011 - 17 997,50 - -23 091,20 -56.2%
Waste 13 557,80 3% 21 249,00 4.1% 7 691,10 56.7%
Total (excluding. FOLU) 448 874,20 - 512 660,70 - 63 786,50 14.2%
Total (incl. FOLU) 436 733,50 - 482 016,40 - 45 282,90  10.4% 



Energy emissions were highest in 2009, after which there was a 3.1% decline to 2011. In 2012 there was a 3.6% increase in emissions, followed by an average annual decline of 0.8% to 2016. A 1.5% increase was seen in the 2017 emissions from the energy sector.

IPPU emissions reached a maximum in 2007, followed by an annual average decline of 5.8% to 2010.  There was an 11.5% increase in 2011, after which emissions stabilised to 2016 with a 0.3% annual average rate of increase. A large decline of 19.7% was evident in 2017, however this change is not a true decline in emissions, but rather reflects the change in the data sources due to the introduction of emission reporting for the National GHG Emissions Reporting Regulation  (NGER). 

AFOLU emissions, excluding FOLU, declined by 4.6% between 2002 and 2003, after which emissions remained stable with an average annual decline of 0.35. There was a decline of 6.1% between 2015 and 2017AFOLU emissions, including Land, fluctuate annually, reaching a peak in 2008. Emissions increased by 25.8% between 2000 and 2008, after which there was a decline of 65.27% to 2017.

Waste sector has shown a steady increase since 2000, with an average annual increase of 2.7%.