October 15, 2021

Mantashe opposes coal ban for climate aid

Wealthy nations shouldn’t power South Africa to ban new coal-power initiatives and impose different circumstances as a requirement for funding to assist scale back its environmental footprint, the nation’s power minister mentioned.

Gwede Mantashe final month skipped a gathering with climate envoys from the UK, US, Germany, France and the European Union, the place an preliminary quantity of virtually $5 billion in concessional loans and grants was mentioned. South Africa’s surroundings and public enterprises ministers attended the talks, as did the deputy finance minister.

The envoys intention to succeed in an emissions-reduction take care of South Africa that may very well be introduced on the COP26 climate talks that start in Glasgow later this month and function a mannequin for different nations in search of to transition to inexperienced power.

“They must not give us conditions, they are developed countries,” Mantashe mentioned in an interview on Tuesday. “We are a developing economy, they must talk to our program.”

Mantashe has repeatedly confused safety of energy provide as his precedence, selling coal, nuclear and fuel as sources of technology to switch outdated coal-fired vegetation. South Africa is being subjected to a file 12 months of blackouts, that are applied to stop a complete collapse of the grid when the state energy utility can’t meet demand.

The nation is the world’s Twelfth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, with wind and photo voltaic power at present accounting for solely about 6% of provide and coal greater than 80%.

Mantashe’s perspective is seen as placing him at odds with president Cyril Ramaphosa, who in a letter to the nation this week spoke of the necessity to reduce emissions and win climate aid. The results of not doing so will finally hurt South Africa’s means to commerce, as tariffs may very well be imposed on carbon-heavy items, the president mentioned.

Dashing into renewables on the expense of coal can have antagonistic penalties, corresponding to the facility outages at present being seen in China, India and the UK, Mantashe mentioned.

Cautious Transition

“If we move like pendulum from one extreme to another we are going to be in the same situation ourselves,” he mentioned. “We must have a clear program. We must navigate the transition carefully, in an organized way.”

Mantashe defended the nation’s 2019 power blueprint, which permits for the event of 1,500 megawatts of latest coal capability. This, he mentioned, will permit South Africa to experiment with new applied sciences which will reduce emissions when the gas is burnt.

“If we discover that they are useful then we can increase it,” he mentioned. “We are not saying use the current technology.”

That blueprint additionally envisions the event of three,000 megawatts of gas-fired technology. That ambition was given impetus by TotalEnergies SE’s 2019 announcement of a discovery of about 1 billion barrels of oil equal at its Brulpadda subject off the nation’s south coast.

“It’s a game-changer,” Mantashe mentioned. “We are making sizable discoveries of gas. We must use them.”

Atmosphere minister Barbara Creecy and the nation’s two largest coal customers, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd and Sasol Ltd, have mentioned fuel will probably be wanted as a transition gas whereas renewable power is ramped up. The federal government not too long ago elevated its stake in a pipeline that brings the gas in from Mozambique, and Mantashe has referred to as for faster steps to permit the importation of liquefied pure fuel.


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