Mpumalanga ANC wants slow ditch of coal economy

Mpumalanga ANC wants slow ditch of coal economy
JUST OR FAIR?: Mpumalanga delegates to the ANC's national policy conference have submitted that any transition from coal to renewables must happen at a pace and scale that will protect jobs in a province where coal is the backbone of the economy. PICTURE BY Miningmx

The province wants the transition to occur at “pace and scale”.

The ANC in Mpumalanga submitted at the national policy conference that the transition from coal to green energy should not happen suddenly to avoid catastrophic job losses, according to head of economic transformation Mmamoloko Kubayi.

ALSO SEE: What will Mpumalanga be without coal mining?

She said Mpumalanga proposed that government should adopt a fair transition that will be a balance between job protection and carbon emission reduction.

Mpumalanga’s economy is dependent on coal mining and is home to almost all of Eskom’s coal-fired electricity plants.

With a global call for industries across the world to switch to renewable energy, concerned groups fear this will bring about massive job losses.

ALSO SEE: Greenpeace challenges NUM to debate green energy

South Africa is one of the industrial countries under pressure to commit to carbon emission reduction.

In 2018, Greenpeace released a report and ranked Mpumalanga air as the dirtiest in the world.

Greenpeace had called on the South African government to “set up an action plan with concrete steps, measures and deadlines to make sure that air pollution levels in high priority areas comply with existing regulations”.

It wants the government to add no new coal-fired power stations in the national electricity plan and also for 50% of current coal-fired power stations to be decommissioned by 2030 “in line with the IPCC Special Report on 1.5℃”.

The list of the largest air polluters in the world includes South Africa’s coal-fired power plants here in Mpumalanga, Germany and India – and a total of nine coal power and industrial clusters in China.

Cities such as Santiago de Chile, London, Paris, Dubai and Tehran also feature high in the ranking due to transport-related emissions.

Kubayi said delegates from Mpumalanga in policy commissions did express the feeling that the coal economy should not be shut in a hurry but should happen at a “pace” that won’t affect people’s income.

Therefore the policy conference has taken into consideration the proposal by Mpumalanga of a smooth transition.

The 2022 policy conference was held in Nasrec, Soweto the past weekend and dealt with a number of issues, including declaring the 63% youth unemployment a “national crisis”.

(edited by MLM)
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