Gwede Mantashe. Photo: Getty Images
Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has held up the world’s biggest coal users, China and India, as role models in the fight against climate change and railed against communities and environmental activists who hamper oil exploration in the country.
In an extensive television interview on Thursday evening, Mantashe, who is also president of the ruling African National Congress, pointed to schisms within the South African government that are hampering its drive to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
Ahead of last year’s COP26 climate summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed the world’s 12th largest producer of greenhouse gases to an ambitious program to cut emissions. His reward was an $8.5 billion (R132 billion) climate finance pledge from some of the world’s wealthiest countries to speed up the shutdown of coal-fired power plants that provide more than 80% of the world’s energy. electricity from South Africa.
Mantashe, in his interview on Newzroom Afrika channel, said the country should not rush to shut down its power plants, should be wary of the financing terms offered and should resist pressure to quickly change its energy sources. Australia, the coal exporter pilloried for dragging its feet on setting emissions reduction targets, also received praise.
“The good thing about China and India, and let’s expand on Australia, is that they are realistic about the demands of their economy,” he said, citing their reluctance to s ‘commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. “They are not in a beauty contest where they want to be praised.
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