South Africa to get $ 8.5 billion to switch from coal to renewables

For years during global climate talks, developing countries have said they need more financial help from rich countries to accelerate th...


For years during global climate talks, developing countries have said they need more financial help from rich countries to accelerate their move away from fossil fuels.

Now the world is about to undergo a major test of how this might work in practice.

At Glasgow Climate Summit Tuesday, South Africa announcement that it had secured funding pledges of $ 8.5 billion over the next five years from Britain, France, Germany, the United States and the European Union to help to install more clean energy, accelerate the country’s transition away from coal power and cushion the blow for workers who might be affected by the shift.

“It’s a big deal,” said Jesse Burton, energy policy researcher and senior associate at the University of Cape Town and E3G, a research group that focuses on climate change. “This is a major test of whether rich countries can help developing countries embark on a just transition away from coal.”

South Africa, the 15th largest emitter in the world, relies heavily on coal, which provides 87% of the country’s electricity. While the country promised To reduce its global carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 as part of global efforts to tackle climate change, it faces enormous obstacles in doing so.

South African power company Eskom is drowning in over $ 27 billion in debt, in part because of investments in coal-fired power plants, and the utility has struggled to provide reliable electricity, often resorting to blackouts to meet demand.

For South Africa to meet its most ambitious climate targets by 2030, analysts said the country will most likely need to accelerate the withdrawal of existing coal-fired power plants while building large amounts of generation and transmission lines. renewable energy to meet growing demand.

Making the task even more difficult, the country’s fragile economy remains dependent on coal jobs, with more than 120,000 people working in power plants and mines. Past discussions about when and how to move away from coal have been politically controversial.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the $ 8.5 billion in loans and grants pledged by rich countries could help the country refine this transition by accelerating investments in renewable energy while ensuring that Eskom can access the resources to reuse old coal-fired power plants planned for retirement over the next 15 years.

The country would also explore initiatives to create new jobs for former coal miners.

“This is proof that we can take ambitious climate action while increasing our energy security, creating jobs and exploiting new investment opportunities, with the support of developed economies,” said Mr Ramaphosa. .

Yet many questions remain about how the partnership will work in practice. Details are still available on how much new clean energy will be built and how much coal will be phased out.

Analysts also question whether donor countries will honor their commitments, whether there will be transparency in how funds are used and whether they will benefit local communities.

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Newsrust - US Top News: South Africa to get $ 8.5 billion to switch from coal to renewables
South Africa to get $ 8.5 billion to switch from coal to renewables
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