South Africa is taking emergency steps to plug the holes in a leaky electricity grid that are causing another season of scheduled power outages. One of these involves hiring three plug-and-play ocean-based mobile power stations – so-called ‘powerships’. But local energy experts warn that these are risky, expensive, and that the money would be far better spent building utility scale solar and wind plants.
A year since the first COVID-19 cases appeared in South Africa, the disease has killed more than 50,000 people. A new study now shows that a similar number of South Africans die each year due to diseases caused by air pollution linked with the burning of fossil fuels.
The window of opportunity to keep the average global temperature from breaking through the ceiling of 2°C — or preferably 1.5°C — as set out in the UN’s Paris Agreement is closing fast. But for parts of the Kalahari, a vast semi-desert in southern Africa, the battle to stabilise the regional temperature is already lost. Botswana is expected to reach an average warming of 2°C in less than five years. At a time when the science warns that countries need to keep their fossil fuels in the ground, conservationists here have expressed alarm at the news that oil and gas prospecting licenses have been issued for large parts of Botswana and Namibia, including in the ecologically and water-sensitive Okavango Delta and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Leonie Joubert reports
News media is a load-bearing wall in a healthy democracy. It informs the public discourse, shapes citizens’ active participation in day-to-day governance, and holds elected officials to account. The rise of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter in the past decade shows what happens when this new media ecosystem replaces traditional news as a primary source of information — and misinformation. What does this mean for the stability of African democracies, and the continent’s ability to tackle the climate crisis? Leonie Joubert has the story.
Africa’s contribution to the global share of the carbon pollution that is destabilising Earth’s climate is relatively small. A just transition for the continent needs, therefore, to lean towards adapting to an unstable climate, ahead of aggressive mitigation efforts. A case study from South Africa shows how a Green New Deal-approach could help restore damaged ecosystems, buffer communities against climate shocks, and boost job opportunities in a country with high unemployment. Leonie Joubert reports.
As the South African government prepares to inject a stimulus package equivalent to 10 per cent of its GDP into the economy to aid recovery from the coronavirus recession, energy analysts say the time is right to fast-track renewable energy. More than state-funded investment, though, this will need political will and policy that builds private-sector confidence. Leonie Joubert reports.
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The South African government still needs to drawing up a just transition plan that will support workers who are likely to lose their jobs as the country moves its economy away from dependence on carbon-emitting production, such as mining and downstream industries. But the coronavirus lockdown has shown the invisible contribution that women’s labour makes to the economy. Could the country’s coronavirus stimulus package be a chance to add women’s work into the country’s ledger books? Leonie Joubert takes a closer look.
An economic shockwave is tearing through South Africa, as the country went into full lockdown by the end of March to contain the COVID-19 virus now sweeping the globe. The immediate and devastating impact on the tourism industry shows what will happen if we don’t plan for a world that is turning its back on fossil fuels. Leonie Joubert brings us the news.
Conversations about a ‘just transition’ in South Africa largely centre on the impact that a slow-down in coal production will have on workers in the country’s coal mining and power plant region. But what of those in the farming sector, where many millions more will have their livelihoods and jobs impacted by a move away from fossil fuel intensive practices? Using the carbon-capture potential of the subcontinent’s vast grasslands may be a way to fund a just transition for the farming sector here. Leonie Joubert reports
Building a climate-resilient South Africa calls for a grassroots drive that addresses the systemic inequality resulting from decades of colonialism and capitalist development. A new Climate Justice Charter has just been unveiled here, which gives a roadmap for how citizens can roll up their sleeves and help bring about a just transition to a post-carbon society. Leonie Joubert reports