4 Dec 2014
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South Africa has made good progress on climate policy, but that could be held up by a new emerging political economy in the country that can only be described as "more coal, more nuclear, and more gas", said Saliem Fakir of the WWF at a seminar, which explored the potential for a transition to a clean energy economy.
Sadly for South Africans, while there is an understanding of the level of carbon intensity in the country, we are only likely to shift towards a low carbon economy based on nuclear and gas because strong interest groups completely undermine the more progressive agenda of increasing the level of renewables in the South African economy by transitioning to an energy efficient economy based on new forms of industrial development. This has dire consequences for South Africa's ability to address unemployment and inequality in a manner that moves us away from natural resource extraction.
Fakir argued that climate change and the energy debate could neither be separated from the economy nor take place without understanding the context of unemployment and inequality in South Africa.
This panel discussion co-hosted by SACSIS and Norwegian People's Aid took place on 22 November 2014 at Wits University as part of the Civicus International Civil Society Week series of seminars.