OUR BURNING PLANET: Politically Aweh

Why South Africa is a climate crisis criminal

By Politically Aweh 26 September 2019

A new generation is asking for the fight against climate change be turned into a fight for a system change. (Screenshot: Politically Aweh)

Politically Aweh, in partnership with EU co-funded Action 24 (Active Citizens for Responsive Legislatures), looks at why South Africa is setting all the wrong records for carbon emissions – and what the government is doing about it.

In this episode, part 2 of 3 of Politically Aweh’s climate change mini-series, we look at South Africa’s growing reputation as a climate bad guy: worst carbon emitter in Africa, one of the highest per capita in the world, worst carbon emission single-point source in the world and some of the worst air quality in the world in Mpumalanga.

Although we all bear some responsibility, the overwhelming problem lies in the country’s historical dependence on coal – and just two companies are to blame for more than half of our emissions: Eskom and Sasol.

Meanwhile, the South African government under President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to be a veritable contradiction when it comes to the climate crisis, both acknowledging climate change as an “urgent” threat and backing fossil fuels to hell and back.

But time is running out. As Goldman Environmental prize winner and activist Makoma Lekalakala pointed out in an interview with host Zipho Majova, what we need now is “the political will from those who are in government” and “people’s action to improve the situation”.

A new generation is asking for the fight against climate change be turned into a fight for a system change.

On Thursday 26 September 2019, Politically Aweh hosts a livestream broadcast from the University of Cape Town’s television studio, where youth activist Ayakha Melithafa and Tatenda Muponde, a candidate attorney at the Centre for Environmental Rights, will engage in a panel discussion on climate action in South Africa. Melithafa is a YouLead Warrior, a member of the African Climate Alliance and one of 15 global youth activists joining Greta Thunberg in filing a landmark climate-change complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Watch the live stream on Facebook or Youtube. DM

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