Editorial: How SA can lead Africa and save the world

This Africa Day’s continent-wide protests hopefully reminded those who needed it of the deadly future all of us face if the climate crisis isn’t an important part of the framing for every policy decision.

It was also the weekend President Cyril Ramaphosa was officially put into the hot seat. His administration has no time to lose in mitigating the climate crisis. Those who we have elected to look after our interests and deliver the services we pay for through taxation must also dig deeper. Each and every elected official must think beyond their own expedient needs and those of their political mates – each must rise to become a champion of our collective future.

A recent scientific paper shows that a sudden acceleration in the release of methane in the past four years means our home is heating even faster. So we can’t make our Paris Agreement targets as they are – we have to do much more.

Mining coal, gas and oil is responsible for 33% of all human sources of methane, another 16% is released by landfills and waste. In addition, 87% of our carbon emissions come from fossil fuel use, with industrial processes accounting for a mere 4%.

350Africa.org’s Landry Ninteretse, says: “Less developed African countries are a natural disaster away from sinking into a negative loop of poverty and lack of access to social and economic opportunities, exacerbated by climate change.”

While South Africa has contributed more than any other African country to our climate crisis, our country is also in a unique position at this time of political renewal to lead our continent. At the South African Development Community, at the African Union, on global stages and with at-home policies to break our reliance on fossil fuels, to build the circular economy and to push back tirelessly against short-term thinking in favour of future-proofing our people and our continent.

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ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has written a letter suspending party president Cyril Ramaphosa in apparent retaliation after he was served with a letter of suspension on Wednesday.
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