As a part of the deal announced at the COP26 climate summit, South Africa, a major greenhouse gas emitter, is expected to receive USD 8.5 billion to end its dependence on coal.
According to the Global Carbon Atlas, large-scale coal operation run by South Africa’s public utility company Eskom makes the country the 12th largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.
Some of those at the heart of South Africa's coal country expect that this deal could reduce the health and environmental impacts of the power sector.
While it has been recognized at the national level that the dependence on coal needs to end, South Africa is desperate for the electricity it generates. At present, 80% of its electricity is produced from coal but it is still not enough to fulfill the power demand.
Over a decade, the country has reportedly experienced periods of planned blackouts that were intended to reduce the pressure on the power grid.
Earlier, the South African government had planned to minimize the contribution of coal by less than 60% in the energy mix by 2030. However, this was even before the new deal was announced at the Glasgow summit. Wind and solar power were supposed to provide 25% by the estimated period.
With the funding pledged by the US, UK, Germany, France, and the EU, the country is expected to move much faster towards lowering carbon emissions.
Speaking on the matter, President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa stated that this is evident the country can take ambitious climate action while enhancing its energy security, harnessing new investment opportunities, and creating employment with the support of developed economies.
However, like various leaders around the world who are committing to provide new green jobs, the President is faced with powerful groups that are worried about the country’s economic future if it shifts away from coal.
Source Credit: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59135169