The most polluting energy company in the world is South Africa. This is Eskom the public electricity supplier that produces 75% of the electricity from the combustion of coal. This technology emits sulfur dioxide, which is highly polluting. Despite this bad reputation, the Minister of Energy said that he feared that an urgent energy transition could collapse the South African economy, which is highly dependent on coal. Three weeks before COP26, South African energy production should be a challenge for the climate conference.
as reported from Johannesburg, Romain Song
Two thousand two hundred deaths a year. This is the number of deaths attributed to sulfur dioxide pollution in South Africa. A toxic gas generated by the combustion of coal. Many lives are at stake, warns Liz McDaid for the NGO The Green Connection.
“We are talking about thousands of people here who live directly in the shadow of power plants that spew sulfur dioxide over state standards.”
Investing in power plants to make them cleaner would cost Eskom too much. The public electricity company has large debts. Due to COP26, Eskom hopes to convince international donors to release $ 10 billion to finance its energy transition.
The success of this partnership is a global issue, according to Chris Yelland, energy consultant. “South Africa can be an example for all countries that produce high-carbon energy and show what can be done provided there is a real will and the money available for it.”
“Let us not collapse our economy out of greed for green finance,” said the South African energy minister. Gwede Mantashe spoke to the mining industry, which directly employs almost 10,000 people.