Ramaphosa affirms climate goal amid coal push

20th April 2023 By: Bloomberg

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to meet the nation’s net-zero carbon emission target despite a push to keep coal-fired power plants open.

Ramaphosa met with the Presidential Climate Change Commission on Wednesday to review reports it produced after its members met with communities and other stakeholders over the impact of the country’s climate goals, said Crispian Olver, executive director of the panel.

South Africa has pledged to meet its net zero target by 2050.

The nation is facing an energy crisis and Eskom Holdings, the main power producer, has subjected residents to as many as much as 12 hours of blackouts almost every day this year. That’s prompted calls to keep the country’s coal-fired plants open for longer.

Some of the commissioners suggested mothballing rather that decommissioning the power stations, meaning they could be reopened later if needed, Olver said.

Business Day reported earlier that Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the country’s electricity minister, would on Wednesday present cabinet with proposals to slow plans to close down coal-fired plants, according to his spokesperson.

A later statement from government said that cabinet had noted the minister’s plan and requested a more detailed assessment and an outline of solutions to address the country’s energy crisis, without providing further detail.

The president also reiterated his plan to accelerate renewable-energy projects, Olver said.