South Africa is one of the world’s fast increasing markets for renewable energy, but still relies on coal plants for much of its production. The discovery that fracking could produce natural gas in the Karoo region of the nation quickly led to hopes of a shale gas energy boom, but it was followed by a nationwide ban on fracking. However, the ban was later reversed, the first example of the lifting of a moratorium on fracking.
The Karoo shale gas reserve is rich, believed to be the eight largest reserve in the world, but the region lacks the water necessary for high production fracking. The authors of the ISS paper, researchers at the University of Colorado, believe that a small tax would allow South Africa to benefit from its resource wealth without becoming reliant on the technology and bringing water scarcity to Karoo.