Media Statement: 2 November 2021
COP26: On November 2nd at the COP 26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, the South African government announced a major R130 billion deal with the UK, US, Germany, France and the EU. The climate finance deal aims to accelerate South Africa’s transition to renewable energy and away from coal. The funds would go to support coal workers and dependent communities, and include provision for Eskom to repurpose its aging coal power plants. South Africa also aims to invest in the development of new sectors such as electric vehicles and green hydrogen, while providing for the economic inclusion of historically marginalised communities and sectors of society.
Civil society groups like the Climate Justice Coalition have been calling for a Green New Eskom as part of a rapid and just transition to renewable energy. 350Africa.org, who is a leading member of the coalition, said:
“If done right, this deal could pave the way to a renewable energy future that works for all. To help make such a reality possible, the Climate Justice Coalition has been calling for a Green New Eskom suited to the demands of the 21st century. We have also been protesting the biggest obstacle to change, namely Minister Mantashe and his Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. They want to keep us locked into outdated, expensive and polluting coal and gas, rather than embracing the cleaner, more affordable and job-creating energy future that could be unlocked.”
– Alex Lenferna, Campaigner, 350Africa.org
Activists and civil society partners have also raised concerns about how fast the transition will be, saying that a much more accelerated transition to renewables is needed to solve the energy crisis and to tackle the climate crisis at the needed speed and scale.
Notes to Editors
Civil society have raised concerns that Eskom and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) want to invest heavily in gas and two new coal power plants. This move would undermine any good brought about by decommissioning coal plants and make South Africa reliant on volatile international coal and gas markets. Civil society is also concerned that international finance has often come with conditions of structural adjustment that lead to privatisation and deepen indebtedness.
As South Africa moves forward with a just transition, it is also important that it is a transparent and participatory process including all stakeholders from civil society, affected workers and communities. It would require that workers and communities dependent on coal are not left behind in the transition, but are rather invested in and are brought into the new economy.
Find out more about the Green New Eskom.