In July 2008, the South African cabinet endorsed the outcomes of the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) process, which explored South Africa’s options for climate change mitigation in a multistakeholder process. The mere fact that the process took place in a political economy dominated by centralised, energy intensive and dirty industries, is an achievement. But will decision makers on industrial and energy policy accept its implications? And does the LTMS represent an adequate response to the challenges of climate change?

The following report (download link below) observes that the LTMS process was not representative of South Africans, but skewed to current dominant economic players in terms of representation, sources of information and modelling assumptions. Some of its assumptions are highly questionable, such as the belief that carbon capture and storage is a viable technology, the real effects of energy efficiency measures in an economy striving for growth, and the view that nuclear energy is an appropriate response to climate change.

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg acknowledges the work that went into the LTMS, but wants to encourage an open, well-informed public debate that campaigns for people directed solutions to climate change.

The real South African response to climate change will be an open-ended process of transition to a society in which people are actively and consciously making the decisions that shape their collective future. It will not be a smooth process nor is the outcome certain. How things take shape will depend on what emerges from struggles, how people learn from struggle and from doing, and where they decide to take things from there.

This paper puts forward a set of arguments and takes some strong positions but it is not intended as the last word. Rather, the SECCP hopes that it contributes to people’s debates in their organisations, through their networks and in the places where they live and work. It hopes to share in a continuing dialogue but believes that it is the conclusions and decisions for action that people come to that are important.

Download the entire critique (pdf): LTMS Critique