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Greenhouse Gas Emissions | Rhoanda Jansen van Rensburg


 Background and Methodology

In 2017, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventories were developed for Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) and the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ).  This was supported by USAID through the South Africa Low Emissions Development Program (SA-LED).[1]

The Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC)[2] methodology was used, where emission factors are applied to activity data to estimate GHG emissions. Activity data was collected by the engagement with private, municipal, and national government stakeholders.

The GPC has two levels of reporting, i.e. BASIC and BASIC+. The BASIC level of reporting was used, which includes Scope 1 emissions from stationary energy, transportation and waste, as well as Scope 2 emissions from stationary energy and transportation. Scope 3 emissions from exported waste (e.g. hazardous waste) is required for BASIC reporting, but was not included, as it falls outside the control of the municipality.

The baseline for BCMM’s inventory is a period of 12 calendar months running between 2015 and 2016, depending on the availability of the activity data from the various sources. The baseline year for the ELIDZ inventory is 2016.

GHG emissions are reported as Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (CO2e) in tons. CO2e is a universal unit of measurement that accounts for the global warming potential when measuring and comparing GHG emissions from different types of gases, e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

  1. Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality

The total estimated GHG emissions for BCMM is 4.4 million tons CO2, with:

  • Scope 2 emissions (electricity use) = 2.3 million tons (52%)
  • Scope 1 emissions (stationary energy, transportation and waste) = 2.1 million tons (47%)
  • Scope 3 emissions (trans-boundary air travel and waterborne fuels) = 0.004 tons (1%)

BCMM Emissions by Source

The largest sectors contributing to GHG emissions in BCMM are stationary energy (65%) and transportation (28%). Waste and livestock emissions accounts for 5% and 2% of the estimated total respectively,

BCMM Emissions by Sector

Stationary energy emissions accounts for 2.9 million tons CO2e. The major contributing sub-sectors are commercial and institutional buildings (33%), manufacturing and construction (25%) and residential buildings (14%),

Non-specified electricity supplies (17%) may include sales to residential, commercial, industrial and/or agricultural users.

BCMM’s internal GHG emissions (i.e. electricity used in buildings, water treatment and distribution operations, and public lights, as well as fuels used in fleets) are small at 3% of the stationary energy total. However, losses from electrical distribution within the city boundary are significant at 6% of the total stationary emissions.

BCMM Stationary Emissions

The transportation sector accounts for approximately 1.2 million tons CO2e. On-road transportation accounts for 89% of the total transport emissions. The fuels sales approach was used in this inventory, which means all emissions from fuel sold within the city boundary were allocated to Scope 1 emissions. Scope 3 emissions are not required for the BASIC level of reporting and may therefore be included in the Scope 1 emissions.

BCMM Transport Emissions

Electricity used by railways contribute to 7% of transportation emissions. Diesel use in railways was not provided, and therefore, these emissions are included in the on-road transportation volumes.

The waste sector contributes to 224 524 tons CO2e with solid waste disposal contributing to 64% and wastewater treatment to 36% of the total estimated emissions.

There are no cement, lime, glass, primary chemicals, or metallurgical industries in BCMM. Therefore, GHG emissions from these types of processes are not relevant to this inventory.

Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) emissions form part the BASIC+ level of reporting. Livestock emissions (from enteric fermentation) were estimated at 86 782 tons CO2e. Other sources of AFOLU emissions were not estimated as they fall outside the control of the municipality.

  1. East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ)

The total estimated GHG emissions for the ELIDZ are 59 kilotons CO2e, with:

  • Scope 2 emissions (electricity use) = 43 970 tons (75%)
  • Scope 3 emissions (trans-boundary travel and solid waste landfilled): 12 670 tons (21%)
  • Scope 1 emissions (stationary energy, transportation and product use): 2 285 tons (4%)

Scope 3 emissions from trans-boundary transportation only include the transportation of goods and services by tenants outside the boundary of the ELIDZ. Therefore, it excludes transport companies contracted out by other tenants or travelling of ELIDZ employees.


ELIDZ Emissions by Contributor

Manufacturing operations account for 94% of electricity consumption. Major electrical applications include steam production in electrical boilers, hot aluminum forging, hydraulic presses, injection moulding, foam moulding, welding, cold rooms, and other mechanical processes. Paraffin is also used for steam production.

A solar photovoltaic (PV) system is installed on the roof of the Science and Technology Park (STP). It started feeding into the grid from the beginning of 2017 and should reduce the electricity demand from the STP.  The system is also used by the Master Artisan Academy for training students on live systems.

There is a small wind turbine outside the STP offices building, but it does not feed into the grid. The wind turbine is also used for training purposes. The two Twerly lights that are outside the STP are only demonstrative and not tied into the grid either.

All of the STP offices and the Head Office buildings are connected to a smart building management system, which includes motion sensors that control both the lights and air conditioners. There are also several electricity savings activities at the manufacturing operations.

Collectall is the major recycling operation in the ELIDZ, with an estimated reduction in the carbon footprint of 5 679 tons CO2e as methane.  The recycled waste streams include plastics, cardboard, metal and wooden pallets. The main contributors to GHG emissions would have been cardboard and wooden pallets if this was landfilled.

With the remaining solid waste to landfill accounting for an estimated 4% of GHG emissions, it may be worthwhile investigating the potential use of some of this waste in bio-digesters, instead of using electricity and paraffin in boilers. Additional waste streams that could be investigated include fats removed from the dairy, fish mortalities from the fish farms, fish farm effluent and sewage sludge.

Only one tenant has a target for GHG emissions reduction and only one tenant is required to prepare a GHG inventory. It is recommended that operations be informed about global standards for GHG emission reductions for similar international operations.

This article was written by the researcher and author of the inventories, Rhoanda Jansen van Rensburg. She developed the inventories as an independent consultant for SA-LED.

[1] The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government