Greenpeace: NDP worrying

2012-08-17 10:30

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.

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  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-08-17 11:24

    So-called 'alternative' or 'renewable' energy is not only more expensive than 'carbon-based' energy, it is unpredictably variable and intermittently available - it does not provide base load power. What Africa needs is cheap, reliable power and until some bright spark starts pulling rabbits out the hat we will have to rely on coal, gas, hydro or nuclear power generation.

      ernst.j.joubert - 2012-08-17 12:24

      @Robin: "So-called 'alternative' or 'renewable' energy is not only more expensive than 'carbon-based' energy...." 1) This is because the environmental cost of burning carbon based feul is not factored into its price. 2) Fossil feuls are "cheap" because they rely on using the atmosphere as a "sewer" for dumping harmful emissions. 3) These emissions are going to have a negative effect in the long and short term and future generations are going to have to deal with the clean up. 4) What this means is that proponents of "primitive" fossil feuls are "screwing" future generations by getting rich at their expense.

      manningi1 - 2012-08-17 12:44

      @ernst You are over simplifying the negatives of fossil fuel usage and glossing over the negatives of so-called alternative energy sources. There exhausts of gas and coal generation can be filtered to produce carbon-based groundfill which has practical uses. Hydro power is part of the current plan, but is limited to the right river environments. Solar and wind power generation is expensive and technology is still being developed.

      ernst.j.joubert - 2012-08-17 14:04

      @Manning: I am not against fossil feuls. They have been responsible for decades of economic growth. What I am against is that this industry has abused the fact that it has a product that nobody can do without; it has become so powerful that it controls much of the political landscape across the world, and, together with the auto industry, has stifled the development of alternatives. See the example below:

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-08-17 11:35

    Here we go again green with criticism, but peace no alternative viable solutions offered.

      ernst.j.joubert - 2012-08-17 12:28

      HermannH: Nuclear fusion is a real alternative (although extremely difficult)possibility to our energy problems. However, the funding that these programs receive is pocket change in relation to what the fossil feul industry gets (in subsidies). Scientists have said that given sufficient funding, fusion can be fast tracked to be viable in about 30 years. It is a necessary risk that needs to be taken if we are to solve this problem. See:

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-17 12:30

      Wonder what the colour of gas is when it has been fracked?

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-17 13:18

      @ernst.j.joubert After spending more than a billion Rand? on pebble bed research, it was canned. What is the bet it was political and not scientific reasons? You and I might know that the sooner fusion techniques are studied, researched and practically applied, the better. But try tell that to someone who has fat interests and income from coal mining, transport, building contracts and other related industries.... And cannot see how to make a fast buck out of fusion.

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