The Life After Coal campaign (comprising the environmental justice groups groundWork and Earthlife Africa, and public interest environmental law group the Centre for Environmental Rights) calls for zero fossil fuels in electricity generation by 2040 at the latest, and a zero fossil fuel economy by 2050. Coal pollution is killing our people and destroying their health. This is a gross Constitutional and human rights violation that cannot continue.
South Africa must meet the lower bound of its new climate target range by accelerating the coal phase-out and renewable energy build, and to lead on demanding increased financial support from wealthy nations for adaptation and loss and damage at this month’s climate meeting in Glasgow.
Last month, Cabinet approved an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in terms of the Paris Climate Agreement. This NDC includes the greenhouse gas emissions limits that South Africa has committed to adhere to for 2025 and 2030. To meet the lower bound target within the timeframes set, urgent action must start now.
The most pressing actions are:
- Cancelling all new coal projects.
- Avoiding massive new gas infrastructure projects that we do not need in future.
- Accelerating the retirement of our coal fleet faster than that prescribed in the IRP 2019.
- Accelerating a broad and inclusive just transition from coal and other fossil fuels.
- Dramatically scaling up and accelerating our renewable energy build
South Africa needs both transition and climate finance to support the transformation of our economy, from one that is heavily reliant on coal to one that is free of fossil fuels, over the next 30 years.