Based on numbers produced in the recently released BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2009 we did an analysis on South Africa's relative share of electricity generation. South Africa generates around 1.3-1.4% of the world's electricity and this number has been relatively stable from 1990 up to 2008. However, when expressed as a percentage of electricity generated in the BRIC countries and in China a different picture emerges. In 1990 South Africa produced almost 27% of the amount of electricity that China generated, but this has declined rapidly to only 8% in 2008. In comparison to the BRIC countries this declining share is less dramatic, from 7.5% in 1990 to 4.8% in 2008.
Although not a direct proxy for greenhouse gas emissions over time, these numbers provide some important insights in South Africa's relative responsibility to mitigate against the emissions of greenhouse gases when compared to other developing countries.