S. Africa says UK climate envoy to visit to discuss coal transition aid

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JOHANNESBURG, Sept.16 (Reuters) – The British envoy to the United Nations Climate Change Conference plans to visit South Africa ahead of November talks, officials said, to discuss aid to end to an excessive dependence on coal which makes it one of the main carbon producers in the world. transmitters.

South Africa’s Environment Department spokesman Albi Modise said talks involving British envoy John Murton would focus on cooperation in the transition from coal to renewable energy ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

A COP26 spokesperson confirmed that senior UK government officials at COP26 and international partners will visit South Africa in the coming weeks.

The most industrialized country in Africa uses coal for more than 80% of its electricity. That made it the 14th largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world – pumping 479 million tonnes equivalent in 2019 – two places above Britain, an economy eight times the size.

“Developed economies have a responsibility to finance the just transition to a low-carbon economy,” Modise said.

Africa’s largest emitter, state-owned power company Eskom, is presenting a $ 10 billion plan to global lenders to shut down most coal-fired power plants by 2050 and switch to renewables. Read more

He’s heavily in debt and struggles to keep the lights on, with frequent blackouts.

Mandy Rambharos, who heads Eskom’s Just Energy Transition office, said funding discussions were also underway with the US, French and German governments, and the World Bank.

She said Eskom hoped to announce a funding deal at COP26 but was still in talks with government departments.

“We would like to have an irreversible deal,… the lenders commit to the funding and we commit to the plans,” Rambharos said.

The South African government remains reluctant to abandon coal altogether, which provides more than 90,000 jobs, according to the latest data from the South African Minerals Council.

Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, the sector’s most powerful donor, called the abandonment of coal “economic suicide”.

But President Cyril Ramaphosa fears that dragging its feet in the transition to renewables – South Africa is blessed with sun and wind in abundance – could leave it excluded from the global capital markets needed to harness these resources.

In July, he warned that South Africa was facing the risks of a rapidly decarbonizing global economy, calling for international support to accelerate its transition.

Johannesburg-based renewable energy consultant Clyde Mallinson said donors could achieve larger emission reductions per dollar spent in South Africa than almost anywhere else, as labor costs are low and carbon-intensive electricity.

“For every kilowatt hour of electricity you offset in South Africa, you get four or five times more carbon reduction than in Europe,” he said.

“It is a lot more for your money.”

Additional reporting by Alexander Winning in Johannesburg and Elizabeth Piper in London Editing by Nick Macfie and Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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