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
How did a billionaire win over coal miners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to become president? Three words: “Trump digs coal”. By linking deindustrialisation and the decline of working communities in America’s “rust belt” to environmental regulation, Donald Trump could paint his greener rivals as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. Never mind that climate change and pollution will hit working class people hardest – when it’s “jobs or the planet”, the former will always be a more immediate worry for the precarious and impoverished. Matt Perry reports for The Conversation
While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports
The construction of new coal-fired power plants in South Africa has hit a major roadblock, with three of the biggest private banks saying they will stop funding dirty energy infrastructure developments here. Leonie Joubert reports
Recent months have brought a series of signs of change on the horizon of Polish climate politics – some clearer than others. It is negligible how much such change is being forced by external circumstances and how much stems from genuine reflection. The climate crisis and its consequences are now so clear that the most hardened climate sceptics have been silenced. It is too soon to speak of an environmental breakthrough in Poland, but one can no longer definitively say that the right-wing remains completely indifferent to the ubiquitous signs of crisis. Michał Olszewski summarises the development.
Fossil fuel industries still have an unfair advantage in South Africa: the economy externalises the costs of carbon emissions, the state subsidises the biggest emitters, and financial institutions still invest in high-carbon industries. How can the country level the playing fields for a greener economy? Leonie Joubert takes a look
Determined to push government’s inaction on the climate crisis, activists from Fridays For Future, Ende Gelände, Extinction Rebellion and others poured into western Germany’s brown coal district to use their bodies to shut down Europe’s worst climate killing infrastructure. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports
In the upcoming days Japan will hosts its first ever G20 Summit. As the main contributers to global warming, the G20 states agreed 2009 on a phase out plan of fossil fuel subsidies. Ten years later the failure of the G20 to act on global warming is evident: around $63.9 billion was spent by G20 countries this year to develop coal industries in the global south. Dr. Rainer Quitzow reveals the facts.
Faced with dwindling oil reserves, Columbian politicians are worried about energy security and state funds. The country is looking into whether it will allow fracking if it’s ‘sustainable’ – ignoring the possibility of expanding renewables instead, says Rebecca Bertram.