17 July 2018
Contact: Lerato Ngakane, 350Africa.org Communications Coordinator, +27 81 464 9726, Lerato.Ngakane@350.org
As Mandela turns 100, South Africans call on Ramaphosa to ditch coal and approve modern energy policy to fulfil his legacy
JOHANNESBURG – Today, as former US President Barack Obama delivers the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, citizens will gather in front of the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Illovo, Johannesburg, to ask President Ramaphosa to improve his climate record by overseeing the immediate release of an updated electricity plan that excludes coal or nuclear power.
Since he took office, President Ramaphosa has created expectations of progressive policy shifts in numerous sectors. However, South Africa’s energy policy is outdated and still heavily reliant on coal as a source of electricity generation, which makes it dramatically out of step with the country’s own commitments to address climate change.
South Africa’s long-awaited update to the 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is expected to be submitted to parliament in August setting out the path for the country’s future energy mix. This highly anticipated master plan will be critical to ensuring that South Africa embraces a just energy transition where citizens benefit from new, clean energy technologies that reduce electricity costs, while tackling energy poverty, creating new jobs for those employed in the dying coal industry and the unemployed, and meeting the Paris Agreement target of keeping the world from warming over 2°C, aiming for 1.5°C.
Glen Tyler, South Africa team leader at 350.org said, “South Africa deserves a modern energy policy fit for the future and rooted in justice and access for all. The only way to accomplish that is to stop all coal development projects and set the course for a robust transition to a low-carbon economy powered by 100% renewable energy. While he listens to Obama’s lecture on ‘renewing Mandela’s legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world’, President Ramaphosa should ask himself what he wants his own climate legacy to be.”
This September, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela, and in line with president Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina campaign which calls for active citizenship to alleviate South Africa’s challenges, South Africans will #RiseforClimate, organising and pushing for the government in power to recommit to the Paris Agreement by approving a new IRP that promotes renewable energy and progressively ditches coal as a polluting thing of the past.
South Africans will not be alone. People across the world will mobilise on the 8th of September, ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in California, to demand that local leaders build a fossil free world that works for everyone. Hundreds of events will take place all over the globe to put pressure on leaders for a fast and just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The full range of events can be seen at www.riseforclimate.org.
NOTES FOR THE EDITOR
On 12-14 September 2018 the Governor of California, Jerry Brown will host The Global Climate Action Summit in California, Los Angeles. Its goal is to demonstrate how the tide has turned in the race against climate change, showcase climate action taking place around the world, and inspire deeper commitments from each other and from national governments. It will be the largest gathering of its kind, where leaders from around the world from across sectors will come together to make bold commitments – from mayors & local governments to business and civil society. The global mobilisation will ultimately strengthen the message to national governments that the energy transition is necessary and achievable and that they should follow suit later this year at COP24 by committing to revise their national climate plans by 2020.