Eskom is now the world’s worst polluting power company

Posted by David Henning on 6 October 2021

Eskom’s 15 coal power plants emitted 1 600 thousand tonnes (kt) of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the 2020-21 financial year. This surpasses the entire power sector emissions of any country in the world, except for India.

Data analysis by The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air revealed that South Africa’s national power utility, Eskom, has become the largest entity emitter of health-harming sulfur dioxide in the world.

With China, the US and EU scaling back on coal power, South Africa’s government seems intent on expanding its coal capacity, with the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy exploring the exploitability of the Molteno-Indiwe coalfields.

This project goes against the public consensus, has adverse consequences, and is contrary to the nation’s commitment to the 2050 climate accords. These emissions contribute to high levels of air pollution and air pollution-related deaths, responsible for 2 200 deaths annually according to a study on the health effects of coal plants.

The argument that coal power is vital for the nation’s industrial development seems unjustified, considering that the air pollution from coal-fired power generation in South Africa is estimated to cost the country $2.37 billion annually.

According to the report, the six economies with the highest SO2 emissions in 2015 were India, the USA, China, Saudi Arabia and the EU. Out of these six emitters, the US, EU and China have embarked on reducing their emissions. India remains the largest polluter, but it is a tight race between South Africa and Saudi Arabia for second place.

It should be noted, however, that new research reveals that the US, EU and other countries in the Global North are responsible for 92% of excess global carbon emissions, where wealthier countries have ‘exported’ high carbon emission industries to developing countries in order to reduce their own emissions.

Although South Africa is a developing country with a smaller economy than India or China, where financing massive infrastructure developments are more challenging, impetus from the government seems to be absent.

Picture: Flickr Commons


The Arctic’s “last ice area” showing signs of global warming, scientists warn


yoast-primary -
tcat - Travel news
tcat_slug - travel-news
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final -