Philip Lloyd makes some valid points about carbon taxation (There is no good basis for carbon tax, April 3), albeit wrapped heavily in a veil of his obligatory climate-change science denial.

As he notes, SA is comfortably within its Paris Agreement emissions commitment. But with some growth in the economy this situation will last until maybe 2022, maybe a year or two later. Then what?

Shell is the latest organisation of several to forecast the high carbon prices necessary to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement. Last week it published the Sky Scenario, which forecasts a carbon price of about $45 per tonne by 2030 and $80 a tonne by 2040.

Compare this with the effective $3 to $4 a tonne the National Treasury proposes as a starting point in 2019. Instead of just worrying about this first wave, we had all better get ready to deal with the tsunami that is on the way.

Again, as Lloyd notes, we have a problem with high carbon emissions from energy (mostly coal-sourced electricity). As the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has demonstrated, we can fix this with a mix of mostly solar and wind sources with some gas, at a cost of about R800/MWh, combined with smart demand management. Nuclear could also facilitate the decarbonisation, but it would be at least the early 2030s before it would get going, and it would cost about R1,300/MWh.

The energy future and the transition to a low-carbon economy are incredibly interesting and complex subjects.

Let’s put our considerable combined talent into being clever about new things, and not be 21st-century denialists!

Dave Collins

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