Energy minister embraces China and India as climate models

Highlights schisms within government that are hampering its drive to reduce its fossil fuel dependence.
Gwede Mantashe. Image: Bloomberg

South Africa’s Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe held up the world’s biggest coal users, China and India, as models of how to tackle climate change and railed against communities and environmental activists who are hindering oil exploration in the country.

In a wide ranging television interview late Thursday, Mantashe, who is also chairman of the ruling African National Congress, highlighted the schisms within South Africa’s government that are hampering its drive to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Ahead of last year’s COP26 climate summit, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa committed the world’s 12th biggest producer of climate-warming gas to an ambitious program to reduce emissions. His reward was a pledge of $8.5 billion in climate finance from some of the world’s richest nations to accelerate the closure of the coal-fired power plants that supply more than 80% of South Africa’s electricity.

Mantashe, in his interview on the Newzroom Afrika channel, said the country shouldn’t rush to close its power plants, should be wary of the terms of finance offered and should resist pressure to rapidly change its energy sources. Australia, the coal exporter pilloried for dragging its feet in setting emission reduction targets, also came in for some praise.

 

“What is nice about China and India, and let’s extend to Australia, is that they are realistic about the demands of their economy,” he said, citing their reluctance to commit to net zero emissions targets by 2050. “They are not in a beauty contest where they want to be praised.”

Mantashe went on to say the lawsuits brought against oil exploration have driven Eni SpA and Shell Plc to search for oil in other parts of Africa.

“Investors are not human rights activists,” he said.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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This is just typical of the ANC government. They promise the moon and stars to green creditors, and after they have received the loan, they deliver coal. They basically treat their voters the same way.

Comparing India and China to SA is like comparing a ripe, delicious watermelon to a vrot, soggy rancid one that’s been left in the sun for a week.

If he really wanted to do “what’s right for the country” he and his cadre-clique would resign and hand the running of the country over to businessmen/women who actually know what they’re doing and have been accountable to shareholders, not brainwashed voters.

Should I mention that both India and China have had highly sophisticated societies and economies extending over a few thousand years?

ESKOM is the last man standing in terms of it being an ATM for the ruling elite. It is critical to keeping the ANC in power literally.

The ministers *contradictory* statement speaks volumes, to both the importance of this giant tax guzzling besieged SOE and of the growing split within the ANC.

End of comments.

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