23 May 2017 at 9:00 am
The Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign has launched a new website to support its aims of discouraging new coal-fired power stations and mines; accelerating the retirement of SA’s coal infrastructure; and enabling a just transition to renewable energy systems for the people.
A collaboration by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA), groundWork (gW), and the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), the Life After Coal campaign counts the landmark court victory of SA’s first climate change case among its achievements. The website contains materials and updates on the ongoing work of the three organisations and their community partners in the fight against coal-fired power generation and coal mining; and to ensure that clean, cheap, reliable RE forms the mainstay of SA’s future energy mix. Highlights include:
- Influential research on the impacts of coal mining and Eskom’s coal-fired power stations on human health and the environment (including SA’s water resources);
- The Life After Coal partners’ submissions on the draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) and the Draft Integrated Energy Plan (IEP);
- Court judgements, appeals and other legal documents;
- Campaign correspondence with government and Eskom;
- An interactive map depicting the locations of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations. In time, this map will also show the locations of all proposed Independent Power Producer (IPP) coal-fired power stations with their supplying mines, and SA’s key RE installations;
- A Countdown Calendar to track the time remaining to the decommissioning of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations;
- A Community page with personal accounts of the devastation caused by coal (mining and power generation);
- An “Important Links” section, directing visitors to the sites of aligned organisations working on coal – and in support of RE – for easy access to their tool kits, research, and services. The Life After Coal campaign forms part of a fast-growing network in the fight against coal and its harmful impacts, and to ensure RE assumes its rightful place in SA’s energy mix.
- A Media page contains all campaign newsflashes, media coverage, and a growing selection of associated digital media.
Many of the video clips and short films tell harrowing tales of the health impacts of coal. In the Virtual Library section of the site, a March 2017 report by Dr Mike Holland of the European Marketing Research Centre, provides research-based estimates of the impacts of the current emissions of air pollutants from coal-fired power stations in South Africa. These include health impacts – ranging from early death and chronic bronchitis to hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and a variety of minor conditions leading to restrictions on daily activity, including lost productivity – and economic costs estimated at R33 billion per year.
South Africa has an abundance of clean, renewable resources that can reliably and cost-effectively supply the country’s energy requirements. In its 7 December 2016 comments on the Department of Energy’s draft IRP, the CSIR demonstrated how having 70 percent renewables by 2040 was both feasible and the cheapest option for SA – by R90 billion per year by 2040 – even without taking the carbon tax into account.
South Africa on 2 November 2016, ratified the Paris Agreement, committing to pursue global efforts to limit temperature increases to well below 2°C. This commitment and South Africa’s extreme vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, as a water scarce country – make it even more essential to rapidly move away from the burning of coal.
For these reasons, the Life After Coal campaign will continue to challenge any plans that include proposals for coal-fired power.
The new website (https://lifeaftercoal.org.za/) will be maintained and expanded to become the “go to” place for the latest information, data, maps, research, personal accounts, and campaign developments in this fight. Follow our work at Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle, and “like” the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LifeAfterCoal/.