Stopping Climate Change with Renewables

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Feature story - September 19, 2011
Our country suffers from an addiction to coal - 94% of our electricity comes from it, and Eskom is currently building two of the biggest coal-fired power stations in the world (Medupi and Kusile). As a result, we are among the biggest carbon emitters in the world.

Let's Do It in Durban!

Activists display a banner in front of the cooling towers of a coal power plant. Greenpeace is calling for the South African government to be a true climate leader: not only pushing for a deal in the international negotiations in 2011, but also reducing the country's dependence on coal and choosing a sustainable pathway to a clean energy future domestically. © Juda Ngwenya / Greenpeace

If humans continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, we risk causing catastrophic climate change. However, all is very far from lost – we are at a critical crossroads, and the right choices now will make all the difference.

The reality is that around the world, countries need to shift away from coal and nuclear power and towards abundant renewable energy – in a real life energy [r]evolution. South Africa is no different.

In presenting the greatest threat the planet faces, climate change also provides a huge opportunity for sustainable development. South Africa has massive renewable energy sources, from wind and marine energy to some of the best solar resources in the world. If we use these resources much more, South Africa would not only make a huge contribution to averting runaway climate change by reducing emissions, but would also create a green economy based on green jobs.

It’s not easy to change, but just because South Africa has been using coal for over a century, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t kick the habit.

Around the world, renewable energy markets continue to grow, and South Africa risks being left in the dust.

To make the shift and to tackle climate change effectively, the government needs to know that South Africans are asking for sustainable energy from renewables.

So, let’s get ahead of the game, and ask for large scale renewables - by using the wind and the sun more, we’ll make the future look very bright.