Author: Leonie Joubert


Leonie Joubert

Leonie Joubert is a science writer and journalist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her work focuses on climate change, energy policy, urban food security, and giving communications support to various academic and civil society organisations.

South Africa’s energy crisis team unveils finance plan that could bring a just transition

South Africa is a kingpin of the Global South: we are the biggest carbon emitter on the African continent, and the 14th biggest globally. Our economy runs on a grid of ageing coal power stations, and our financially-crippled national utility, Eskom, doesn’t have the money to replace them. But a new funding proposal sitting with government could rescue the utility from financial ruin, force the rapid phase-out of coal, and pool funds to catch the workers who will lose their livelihoods as coal energy dwindles. Leonie Joubert reports

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Stroke of a ministerial pen could shift South Africa to a renewable grid

The debt crisis that is crippling South Africa’s national power utility could open the way for the private sector to drive lower-carbon energy solutions in the form of utility-scale renewable projects and smaller community-level power suppliers. All it needs is for the energy ministry to approve the red tape that’s getting in the way, writes Leonie Joubert.

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Small city-based businesses hit hard by African drought

The four-year drought which gripped southern and east Africa between 2015 and 2018 hit small businesses in many of the major cities. As we start to count the financial cost of this, it shows up the complex relationship between water and energy, and that a ‘just transition’ here means finding ways to support businesses against the economic fallout of climate-related shocks, writes Leonie Joubert.

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Big money skews South Africa’s fossil fuelled economy

South Africa’s electricity sector has emerged from a turbulent decade that has been tarnished by corruption and mismanagement. Vested political interests within the electricity industry here could still be locking the continent’s biggest carbon emitter on its current course as one of the dirtiest and most energy-intensive economies in the world, writes Leonie Joubert.

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Why doesn’t the media talk about climate change?

For the past few years, news headlines have been crammed with reports of extreme weather events unfolding around the world. Recently, UN climate scientists issued their most urgent warning yet: we have 12 years in which to bring carbon emissions in check or face run-away climate breakdown. But journalists are only now starting to join the dots between the two. Why has South Africa’s media failed in its role to inform us that the planet is burning, when nature has been sending out warning flares for decades? Leonie Joubert asks.

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When coal dies, what of the coal workers?

In principle, South Africa’s development agenda shows that the country understands the need for a just transition to a low carbon economy. But what will this mean for the people working in the coal industry whose livelihoods will slowly dwindle? asks science writer Leonie Joubert.

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