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Air quality and climate change co-benefits for the industrial sector in Durban, South Africa

Thambiran, Tirusha, Diab, Roseanne D.
Energy policy 2011 v.39 no.10 pp. 6658-6666
air, air pollution, air quality, climate change, combustion, energy efficiency, energy policy, fuel oils, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, industry, methane, petroleum, pollutants, South Africa
Industries in Durban, South Africa, are a major source of air pollutant emissions and large users of fossil fuel based energy. Durban’s energy strategy prioritises energy efficiency at industries as a key action, whilst industries are also the focus of the city’s air quality management plan (AQMP). In this paper, measures that have been introduced in industries in Durban to effect air quality improvements and reduce energy consumption are examined in terms of their respective impacts on greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions. It was found that co-benefits for GHG mitigation were achieved when petroleum refineries switched from using heavy fuel oil to refinery gas and methane rich gas. Within other industries, co-benefits for air quality stemmed from reducing fossil fuel energy consumption and the improved efficiency of combustion systems. Air quality and energy policies in the city are being executed independently, without consideration of the trade-offs or synergies of the interventions being implemented. Recommendations are made for authorities and industries to consider the co-benefits for GHG mitigation in their AQMPs and where these are not possible to consider offsetting the increased GHG emissions through improved alignment with energy strategies.