R131 billion funding to reduce SA’s fossil fuel use welcomed

R131 billion funding to reduce SA’s fossil fuel use welcomed
President Cyril Ramaphosa has secured R131 billion in funding at COP26, which will be used to reduce South Africa’s reliance on coal-fired power generation and the move towards renewable energy sources. Photo: By Narcisa Aciko | Pexels
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Agri SA has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Wednesday, 3 November that South Africa has secured R131 billion to steer the country away from its dependence on coal for energy generation towards ‘green energy’.

Ramaphosa was currently attending the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), which kicked off in Glasgow, Scotland on 31 October and will run until 12 November.

France, Germany, the UK, US, as well as the EU have agreed to finance the initial R131 billion over the next three to five years to support the implementation of South Africa’s revised plans to reduce carbon emissions.

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“In preparation for COP26, South Africa submitted a revised nationally determined contribution [plan] to reduce domestic carbon emissions to within a target range for emissions of between 420 carbon dioxide-equivalent [CO2-eq] and 350 CO2-eq by 2030,” the Presidency said in a statement.

The statement added that the revised target was compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement and represented South Africa’s best effort to confront climate change.

The statement explained that “the highly concessional finance should accelerate investment in renewable energy and the development of new sectors such as electric vehicles and green hydrogen”.

This would provide a significant boost to investment and growth, while ensuring that Eskom could access resources to finance repurposing of coal fired power-stations due for decommissioning over the next 15 years.

Janse Rabie, Agri SA’s head of natural resources, said this funding agreement was especially welcomed from an environmental perspective.

“High-value agricultural production areas have been particularly adversely impacted by coal mining and electricity generating activities in Mpumpalanga and elsewhere,” Rabie said.

“While Agri SA appreciates the significant implications this may have for our mining sector, the global move away from fossil-based electricity generation is inescapable and should be embraced by all role players.”

Rabie said it should, however, be noted that the climate change negotiations at COP26 would only begin in earnest during the coming fortnight.

“Agri SA will follow further developments and announcements that may impact the South African agriculture sector. “

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