South Africa's Contradictory New Development with mega-carbon footprints

By Michelle Simon - 29 Nov 2011 9:14:0 GMT
South Africa's Contradictory New Development with mega-carbon footprints

Power station emissions via Shutterstock

South Africa has gone to great lengths to market it's green-fronting as host to the COP 17, while in not so far away provinces the reality of polluting Business as Usual proceeds. South Africa is a largely fossil-fuel powered society with huge environmental injustices inherited from an apartheid system and continuing post the oppressive era. Environmental groups have protested vehemented against the nuclear energy plans and the continued dirty technology of coal-power.

As the host to COP 17, the South African government has embarked on a rigourous campaign of green-advertising and promotions of the clean, green stance of the government. What is not being advertised is the introduction of more toxic industry happening at locations throughout the country while COP 17 goes on:

1. Medupi Power Station at Lephalale in Limpopo Province - coal-fired power = toxic emissions + huge water footprint + waste generation. Funder: World Bank at 3.75 bn USD. Capacity: 4800MW.

2. Khusile Power Station in Emalahleni Mpumalanga Province. Estimated costs: 30-R60 bn ZAR. Capacity: 4800 MW. Online date: by 2017.

3. Nuclear Energy Bidding Process to start by 2012 after the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster resulted in the SA govt putting its plan on hold.

Status Quo - SA Govt through its energy utlility Eskom operates 13-coal-fired-power-stations with a nuclear power plant (Koeberg) and a few gas/fuel stations.

So how is it that one can adopt two parallel processes that contradict each other, dirty toxic emission industry versus climate change emission reductions? Why isn't this being advertised at COP 17?

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