Greenpeace: NDP worrying

2012-08-17 10:30
Greenpeace has urged a reset of the government's energy policy. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Greenpeace has urged a reset of the government's energy policy. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Environmental organisation Greenpeace has reacted with concern following the government's National Development Plan (NDP).

Planning Minister Trevor Manuel presented the plan largely welcomed by opposition parties on Thursday as it focused on jobs and economic growth.

The plan called for SA to move toward a higher economic growth path with a reduction in unemployment to 14% by 2030 and a 5.4% expansion of the economy.

The plan calls for investment in alternative energy solutions as SA faces increased risks from climate change.

"South Africa should invest in and help exploit the wide range of opportunities for low-carbon energy from hydroelectric and other clean energy sources in southern Africa," says the executive summary.


The plan also proposes that 20 000MW of electricity generation capacity in the country should come from renewable sources by 2030.

Greenpeace said it was worrying that some sections of the plan called for renewable energy investment, but also suggested that SA should study gas exploitation.

"It is deeply concerning that at the same time as acknowledging the need to move away from fossil fuels another part of the National Development Plan is proposing full-scale coal and gas exploitation, without mentioning a just transition to renewable energy, or our responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the organisation said.

The NDP proposes careful investigation into the extraction of gas reserves, but it is unclear about how this might impact on greenhouse gas emissions even if extraction could be achieved without environmental harm.

"Enable exploratory drilling to identify economically recoverable coal seam and shale gas reserves, while environmental investigations will continue to ascertain whether sustainable exploitation of these resources is possible," the plan says.

The plan also called for domestic coal security and advised comprehensive coal field planning and the opening up of the Waterberg for coal mining.

Scientists have blamed climate change for a host of environmental concerns, including rising sea levels, the observed intensity of weather patterns and have predicted that extreme weather events are likely to increase.

"South Africa is at a cross roads: Now is the time to give a clear direction away from fossil fuels. What we need is a coherent, consistent vision which creates a sustainable road-map for South Africa and green energy access for all South Africans," Greenpeace said.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    greenpeace  |  environment  |  climate change

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