Ramaphosa Reaffirms Commitment to Climate Change Efforts

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Kusile Power Station

President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured the nation that the granting of a postponement for the Kusile Power Station to operate without sulphur dioxide pollution control technology is a temporary measure and does not deviate from South Africa’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global climate change efforts.

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Speaking during a session of oral questions in the National Council of Provinces, President Ramaphosa explained that the postponement was necessary to enable the return to service of three units that were damaged in October last year. He emphasized that this decision does not contradict the country’s firm affirmation to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa has made it clear that it is committed to a just transition to a low-carbon economy, and the President highlighted that this transition is being pursued at a pace and scale that is affordable for the country. He also pointed out that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change recognizes the need for countries to determine their own contributions to global decarbonization efforts.

In line with this commitment, South Africa submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution to the UN in 2021, outlining its target range for emission reduction. The President assured the House that the country is on track to achieve this target, as recent data from the greenhouse gas inventory indicates.

However, in granting the postponement, Eskom—the state-owned power utility—has been directed to undertake measures to mitigate the exposure of its employees and surrounding communities to harmful emissions. These measures must include independent health screenings and appropriate referral to public health facilities for treatment if necessary.

President Ramaphosa made it clear that the pursuit of energy security and the end of load shedding for all South Africans is not incompatible with the country’s emission reduction goals.

 

He highlighted the ongoing massive investment in renewable energy sources and the stabilization and improvement of the existing generation fleet as crucial steps towards achieving both objectives simultaneously.

As a responsible country, South Africa recognizes the importance of balancing the need for energy security with the imperative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The temporary postponement for Kusile Power Station should not be seen as a deviation from the country’s commitment to climate change efforts.

Instead, it underscores the government’s strategic approach to achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy while ensuring the well-being of its citizens and protecting the environment for future generations.

 

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