In his annual State of the Nation address this evening, President Zuma showed a total disregard for sustainable energy, asking citizens to save power until the two coal-fired power stations – Medupi and Kusile – come onboard in two years time.
The two coal plants will increase South Africa's emissions – currently the world's 12th largest emitter – by 10% with resultant negative effects on South Africans' health, livelihood and future. This is not a real or fair commitment for the country, considering that South Africa has declared internationally that it would be lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Listening to the address, Greenpeace had hoped to see a clearer and more practical interpretation of this goal.
Even more worrying was the president's reference to COP 17 as “a huge success, and an historic event equal to when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.”
In reality the Durban Mandate is weak and does not commit to the emissions reductions targets necessary to deal with runaway climate change.
The State of Union Address, preceded by COP 17, is about more than cameras and events management: it's about a fundamental change in the way we see, plan, and roll-out a sustainable energy future for all South Africans.