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Synthetic fuel producer Sasol stands to earn "significant income" selling carbon credits thanks to its groundbreaking technology.
Secondary catalysts were installed at Sasol's nitric acid plants in Sasolburg and Secunda earlier this year. The catalysts convert the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, into harmless nitrogen and oxygen gases.
These catalysts are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to about a million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
One ton of nitrous acid has the greenhouse gas impact equivalent to 310 tons of carbon dioxide, Sasol said in yesterday.
Sasol followed up its groundbreaking technology by becoming the first company globally to register a secondary catalyst as a clean development mechanism project in terms of the Kyoto Protocol.
A clean development mechanism allows developed countries to obtain carbon credits by investing in developing countries. These credits can then be used to offset the developed country's emissions.
A carbon credit is a tradeable permit scheme that is an incentive for countries and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A single carbon credit is equivalent to a ton of carbon dioxide reduced.
South Africa is one of the countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which sets quotas on the levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
Businesses that exceed their allowed quotas must buy carbon credits, while those that operate below quotas can sell their remaining credits.
The chemical group said it would invest some of its income generated from carbon credits in local community-based sustainable development projects.