South Africa | An Open Letter to New Energy Minister Jeff Radebe

South Africa’s energy future at stake: Life After Coal writes to new Energy Minister Jeff Radebe
The Healthy Energy Initiative’s partner in South Africa, groundWork, as part of the Life After Coal Campaign, has written an open letter to South Africa’s new Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. In the letter they state that “the Energy Ministry is of critical importance in determining future energy security for all the people in our country, and supporting the just transition to a low-carbon future; specifically how South Africa meets the need to provide clean, healthy and affordable energy to the poor, while ensuring that South Africa reduces its greenhouse gas emissions.” They call for a meeting with the Energy Minister to discuss their concerns and for more robust opportunities for public input on South Africa’s energy planning process.
“Given South Africa’s exceptionally high contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, the potentially-catastrophic implications of climate change, and South Africa’s particular vulnerability to such impacts, we believe that urgent steps to ensure a rapid, but just transition away from coal and towards publicly-owned renewable energy are required, combined with serious efforts to improve energy efficiency,” Life After Coal states in the letter.
They then describe eleven key principles that future energy plans should adhere to. One of the key principles is that “It must take full account of the external costs of the different technologies, ensuring that all external costs to human health, the environment, and the climate are factored into cost calculations in respect of different technology options.”
Further, Life After Coal argues that, “In addition, there is simply no need for new coal or nuclear power in South Africa’s energy mix, and the addition of such sources would, we argue, make the new IRP unreasonable, irrational, and unconstitutional. The Minister must give serious consideration to the negative impacts of the coal supply chain and combustion on human health, the environment (including our scarce and stressed water resources), global climate change, and the economy. Any version of the IRP Update which contains new coal or nuclear power: will not provide South Africa with least-cost electricity, will not promote social and environmental justice, will not uphold and protect the health and wellbeing of South Africans, and will not enable South Africa to meet its international climate change obligations.”
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