Greenpeace demands climate leadership from SA parliament

Feature story - February 18, 2010
Cape Town, 10 February 2010 - On the eve of the opening of Parliament, Greenpeace activists projected a 1500m² banner onto the Athlone cooling towers to remind South Africa’s decision makers that urgent domestic action is required to reduce national CO2 emissions in order to reduce the country’s contribution to catastrophic climate change.

During the recent international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, South Africa pledged to reach a 42% reduction in projected CO2 emissions by 2025. The message "Politicians Talk, Leaders Act: Stop Climate Change now" was posted as a challenge to Parliament to start taking the key decisions in energy infrastructure required to meet this commitment.

“The problem is that South Africa is among the top 15 CO2 emitters in the world and yet parliamentary debate on economic development has yet to take account of the fact that there is a world-wide push to reduce emissions” said Brad Smith, Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa. “The country’s over-reliance on coal and huge inefficiencies in the energy sector must be addressed urgently at the highest levels if South Africa is to take leadership on climate change” he emphasised.

At the same time, Greenpeace has provided parliamentarians with a summary of the key findings of two independently commissioned reports which clearly demonstrate an alternative development path that would both create new green jobs and economic growth while avoiding dangerous climate change. (1)

The ‘Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable South Africa Energy Outlook’, produced by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace, provides a practical blueprint for rapidly cutting energy-related CO2 emissions (2). The second report “South African Energy Sector Jobs to 2030” demonstrates that implementing the Energy [R]evolution in South Africa would create 20% more jobs than a coal-reliant economy.

“Aggressive investment in renewable power generation and energy efficiency could provide three quarters of South Africa’s electricity by 2050, slashing over 200 million tons of CO2 emissions and protecting the climate while providing employment and growth. Parliamentarians need to recognise this and act on it – we need more leaders and fewer politicians” concluded Smith.


Note to Editor:

  2. Access full Energy Revolution Scenario Report online:
  3. Photo and video available, contact Fiona Musana


  1. Brad Smith, Climate Campaigner, Tel: +27716880947
  2. Fiona Musana, Communications Director, Tel: +27795129381
  3. Nkopane Maphiri, Climate Campaigner, Tel: +27725608666