SA needs to cut carbon over climate

2011-05-06 14:11

Johannesburg - SA needs to find ways to cut carbon emissions in producing electricity to comply with the potential outcomes of COP17 later this year.

This was according to the department of energy's head of electricity supply Thabang Audat on Friday.

"The Durban negotiations for COP17 could be fatal to the plan for coal," he told the National Science and Technology Forum in Midrand - while giving an overview of the Integrated Resource Plan 2010 (IRP) which sets out South Africa's energy mix over the next 20 years.

'We need to find a way to make coal-fired stations emit less emissions," he said.

The 17th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) will be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9 to find a binding long-term plan on combating climate change.

Overall capacity

This will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to end next year.

South African electricity generation is heavily dependent on coal which currently accounts for 93% of supply.

In the next 15 years, SA plans to double its overall capacity by producing another 40 000MW of electricity. Fifteen percent of this new supply would come from coal.

The IRP plans to "continue on the coal path while complying with reduced coal emissions".

"... To meet the base load concerns we need to introduce coal but also need to understand the implications of the current emissions," Audat said.

He said SA currently had a very high carbon dioxide intensity which it planned to reduce through introducing technologies that were less carbon intensive.

One of the options being considered was determining whether coal could be burned underground and the gas emissions burned there.

Audat said the department had to create the IRP in an "uncertain environment" as the outcome of the COP17 negotiations was not yet known, but the country could not afford to delay its plans to increase electricity supply.

The department was planning toward a goal of producing no more than 275 million tons of carbon emissions a year.

Audat said, depending on the outcome of COP17, that this could change.

  • daaivark - 2011-05-06 14:20

    Wow Thabang! Earth-shattering revelation there. About ten years after everyone else in the world.

  • Krush - 2011-05-06 14:22

    This is all a farce and a money making scheme. Not only in south africa, but globally.

  • SaintBruce - 2011-05-06 14:32

    Sorry - article is a bad cut and paste job - basically unresearched garbage! SA will build more coal fired power stations and really does not enforce air quality as it should. Ask any GP what is the most common ailment coming in for medical help all year round in Gauteng ? Upper respiratory tract infections / ailments! Go Figure why...

      daaivark - 2011-05-06 14:49


      HowardX - 2011-05-06 20:03

      @SaintBruce - Air quality and climate change are different issues. There is a huge air pollution problem in South Africa, and this should be addressed urgently. Unfortunately, legitimate environmental issues no longer get the attention they should because faith based global warming pseudoscience dominates everything. Ask any GP if they consider CO2 a pollutant. We have many centuries of coal reserves and with the lack of viable alternatives the reality is that we will be burning coal for many years to come, so instead of devious governments trying to squeeze more taxes out of us with their carbon agenda, we should rather be focussing on researching cleaner ways of burning coal.

  • Fat Rucker - 2011-05-06 14:34

    Cutting CO2 emissions is a waste of time and money:

  • stinkgogga - 2011-05-06 14:37

    According to the latest research 30% of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is a result from wild fires. By only preventing wild fires we can solve a great deal of you carbon emission problem.

  • quinna - 2011-05-06 14:59

    its apartheid's fault

  • Vaal Donkie - 2011-05-06 15:29

    I'll make them a deal: if they stop corruption, I will trade my Lumina V8 for a Prius.

      Kikmi - 2011-05-06 16:45

      Ag nee ou, ten munste sit n 9v battery in die chev, dan sal almal smile :)

  • Hugh - 2011-05-06 16:46

    The build up to the shock CARBON TAXES. Carbon tax that is to be used to fund the government, free housing and other politial projects but not research.

  • Bemused - 2011-05-06 17:05

    Marsh, Please go and do your own research, I have done mine. Two Cape Own University professors also agree that this carbon game is a hoax. As for climate change, yes it does and has taken place forever. Our only hiccup is that we don't understand exactly why it occurs. So stop being a belligerent know-it-all and allow all of us, however much it goes against your beliefs, to voice our opinions freely without caustic utterances from yourself. What carbon pollution caused the Sahara to become a desert and where did the palm fronds in the antarctic ice cap come from. Maybe you know cause no one else does yet.

      Marsh - 2011-05-06 18:16

      Can you name these professors? Considering I graduated from UCT Environmental and Geographical Science department I would be very interested to hear about these 'Professors' who work in the field of climate science who do not accept climate change as fact. Or are you talking about professors from the humanities department?! You are welcome to your opinion but dont get uptight when someone challenges it or chooses to dismiss it, cause to me it sounds like you should be commenting on a subject you are a little more comfortable with.

      HowardX - 2011-05-06 19:38

      @Marsh - well here's one list of 32000 scientists including 9000 PHDs:

      HowardX - 2011-05-06 20:14

      @Marsh - I'm not sure who the professors were to whom Bemused refers, but here's another document containing a list of 1000 dissenting scientists directly involved in the field:

  • HowardX - 2011-05-06 19:35

    There has been no change in sea levels for years, arctic ice is growing, the world has actually been cooling since 2001 and the last few years have seen record cold spells around the world. The only people keeping the man made global warming nonsense alive are the treasuries of the world rubbing their hands in anticipation of all the extra taxes.

  • Bemused - 2011-05-07 08:47

    Marsh, Please read again what I said. I did not say that climate change was not taking place. I said no one knows why it is happening. Hopefully some of the other responses will also get you thinking a bit more broadly.

  • Mike - 2011-05-07 11:59

    I think it safe to assume that the environment has changed significantly many times since life began. In doing so many species came & went. Nature has no hesitation in discarding a life form that doesn’t suit it’s environment. The point is, if we & our offspring, don’t understand how to live with change, we may well be discarded as another “failed experiment”. This learning must include where to grow stuff economically & how to live without oil, where humanity will migrate to & from. etc.

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