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
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
The leading lights of wunderkind firm Mobisol, a Berlin start-up, left the company to found their own research institute. They still believe that the private sector has a key role in bringing solar power to Africa and the developing world. Paul Hockenos 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
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
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.
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.
Years of poor management and corruption are finally catching up with South Africa’s electricity utility, Eskom, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, and couldn’t keep the lights on across the country this week. But failing coal infrastructure and the massive debt needed to keep it afloat could open the way for a speedy energy transition here, writes Leonie Joubert.