South Africa secures R131 billion at COP26 for a ‘just energy transition’

Posted by David Henning on 10 November 2021

South Africa managed to secure R131 billion over the next three to five years in the form of grants, concessional loans and investment and risk-sharing instruments, including mobilising private sector funding.

The funding was provided by developing countries, namely America, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union to help finance a just transition to renewable energy.

South Africa has formally marked its presence at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, with the official opening of the national pavilion in the conference venue.  Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, gave a speech commenting that ‘Our country has come to Glasgow with a clear Mandate:

‘to negotiate for the full implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change including ensuring there is a balanced approach to three of the climate goals, mainly implementation, mitigation and adaption.’ Minister Creecy said. ‘We share with other developing countries the view that our own ability to fulfil our climate ambition… is integrally linked to developing countries honouring their obligations. Developed countries must provide financial and technical support to developing countries to facilitate their just transitions.’

As South Africa is already a country in debt, Minister Creecy expressed the necessity of assembling and appointing a team to interrogate the details of the R131 billion financing and to establish a financial workstream. It is for this reason that Minister Creecy was so adamant in her speech that developed countries must honour their obligations in funding the just transition to renewable energy.

Developed countries have repeatedly failed to meet their climate finance obligations of $100-billion per year between 2009 and 2020. The amount was near $80-billion in 2019, with Africa receiving about $5.5-billion per year towards adaptation. MInister Creecy remained sceptical of funding in the form of loans, commenting that ‘loans for fund their green transition would exacerbate their [developing countries] debt situation.’

Transitioning away from coal has been a key move in South Africa achieving their net-zero 2050 target, with Eskom decommissioning 10 coal power stations by 2040, and a further three by 2050. Gas is being promoted as a leading alternative to developing countries, but this has raised questions about the environmental hazards with proposals to drill for shale gas in the Karoo, a hydrogen plant in the Richtersveld, and exploration studies underway on the Wild Coast.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons


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