2020 kickstarts a crucial decade in the fight against climate change. It means we have 10 years to stop the climate crisis in its tracks and do everything we can to prevent the impacts of climate change from getting worse. For South Africa to meet this challenge, our public finances can no longer support the fossil fuel industry, one of the main drivers of climate change. 

To meet the pace of action required to stop climate wreckage, we’re calling on the Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni to make sure no more public money funds fossil fuels, and instead, public finances must fund a just transition to renewable energy. He should insist that the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) no longer pour public money into fossil fuel projects by initiating fossil fuel exclusion policies. This would in effect mean that they can no longer directly provide finance for coal power exploration, mining, and generation. 

In 2019, over 8000 people supported the call for the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to not finance the proposed Thabametsi coal plant.

The good news is that the DBSA is currently not in line to finance the power plant, however, due to the fact that they currently do not have any policies that exclude destructive energy projects, the bank could potentially fund it in the future. This is why we are calling on the DBSA as well as the IDC to initiate fossil fuel exclusion policies and instead finance a just transition to a low carbon energy future.

South Africa is the 13th largest emitter of carbon dioxide due to the country’s dependence on coal. Stopping the flow of public money into fossil fuels is crucial if we are to make a meaningful contribution to stopping the worst effects of the climate crisis. 

It’s time to push our government to take more meaningful action against climate change this decade. 

Author: Ahmed Mokgopo, 350Africa Finance Campaigner.