Balancing Climate Commitment and Practical Needs
In a move that has sparked intense discussion, President Cyril Ramaphosa has justified the temporary allowance for Kusile Power Station to function without the standard sulphur dioxide pollution control technology.
Why The Exemption?
Addressing the National Council of Provinces, President Ramaphosa clarified the backdrop of the decision. “The granting of a postponement for Kusile Power Station… was necessary as a temporary measure to enable the return to service of three units damaged in October last year,” he stated.
Steadfast on Climate Promises
In his address, Ramaphosa was quick to reinforce South Africa’s dedication to global climate endeavors, emphasizing, “The granting of this postponement does not deviate from the country’s firm affirmation to contribute to the global climate change efforts in reducing greenhouse gases.” He added, “As a country, we are committed to a just transition to a low-carbon economy at a pace and scale that is affordable to us.”
UN’s Acknowledgement and Eskom’s Role
Highlighting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s endorsement for a ‘just transition’, the President pointed out that nations have the flexibility to determine their individual contributions to decarbonization.
Recalling South Africa’s 2021 pledge to the UN, Ramaphosa stated, “We remain firmly committed to achieving our target range for emission reduction. Data from our recent greenhouse gas inventory indicates that we are on track to do so.”
Additionally, he emphasized Eskom’s responsibilities under this temporary measure, stating that the power provider must initiate measures to shield both its employees and local communities from potential harmful emissions. “These measures must, at a minimum, include independent health screenings and referral to appropriate public health facilities for treatment where necessary,” affirmed the President.
Future of Energy: Renewables on the Horizon
Wrapping up his address, President Ramaphosa underscored the importance of sustainable energy, declaring that the cessation of load shedding and the aspiration for nationwide energy security align perfectly with South Africa’s emission-cutting objectives. “The massive investment that is currently underway in renewable energy sources… will help the country to achieve both of these goals simultaneously,” he concluded.