South Africa Beats Climate Goal as Blackouts Slash Emissions
South Africa emissions are falling, ahead of a 2025 target
Power plant breakdowns are reducing industrial activity
Output of the climate-warming gases from the world’s 14th-biggest emitter is already falling even though its Nationally Determined Contribution, a target adopted by the cabinet in 2021, only forecast a decline from 2025.
Regular breakdowns of the coal-fired power plants that supply more than 80% of South Africa’s electricity mean that less carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere and daily rotational cuts of more than 10 hours a day are further limiting emissions from factories.
“It’s unintentional,” Crispian Olver, the executive director of South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission, said in an interview in Johannesburg on Monday. “We reckon we are well within the range” of meeting the 2030 target, he said.
If the decommissioning dates of some coal-fired plants are pushed back it will make little difference to emissions as they produce little electricity in any event, he said.
Keeping them open for another “year or two is neither here nor there,” Olver said on an earlier webinar. “It’s very difficult to recommend the decommissioning of power stations in the middle of an energy crisis.”
Flashback: Rutgers U. Professor: ‘To Save the Climate, Give Up the Demand for Constant Electricity’ – David McDermott Hughes, Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University and author of Energy without Conscience: “For a while, let’s eat a cold dinner here and there. Continuity costs too much. Climate change kills, and it kills vulnerable people first. Intermittency saves lives, and it saves vulnerable people first. Let the pause take its place in continuous climate activism…What applies in the pandemic also applies—and also with desperate urgency—in the climate crisis. We can live with some intermittency and rationing—at least until batteries and other forms of energy storage are up and running everywhere.”