Maverick Life


On the Edge of Change, Episode Six: Back on land – South Africa & climate crisis

Steam and exhaust rise from different companies on a cold winter day on January 6, 2017 in Oberhausen, Germany. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

“We are in an ecological emergency. And we are running out of time.” Jay Naidoo, founding general secretary of COSATU, former minister in Mandela's government.

 On Tuesday 26 November, the UN released a report, co-authored by John Christensen of the Technical University of Denmark, which said that, “Emissions need to go down by 55 percent by 2030. There is no way we are going to make it if we don’t step up action as of next year with ambitious plans.”

Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the report notes that, “G20 countries are collectively responsible for 78 percent of all emissions, but they are not doing enough to contain global warming within the 1.5°C or 2°C temperature goals established by the Paris Agreement in 2016”, and that “Electricity should become the main energy source by 2050, with renewables making up at least 85 percent of global consumption. Coal production should be phased out; transport and industry should be decarbonised; energy efficiency should be improved.”

Yet, in South Africa, about 77%  of the country’s primary energy needs are provided by coal, with 23% for petrochemical industries like Sasol. The Centre for Environmental Rights explains that “ten companies are responsible for 61% of South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions”.

In this episode, we talk to the former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; the Minister of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry, Barbara Creecy; Jay Naidoo, founding general secretary of COSATU, former minister in Mandela’s government; Professor Mark Swilling of Stellenbosch University and Our Burning Planet senior investigator Kevin Bloom about the urgency to address climate crisis, the global impacts on our environment and climate justice, and the humanitarian crisis that could unfold if we delay policies and climate strategies. ML

To see all the videos of the miniseries On the Edge of Change , subscribe to our YouTube channel



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