Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

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Carbon taxes could open the door for greater investment in renewable energy

4 August 2008

The Democratic Alliance last week welcomed the announcement by Cabinet of a policy framework on climate change – most notably the announcement that a new series of carbon taxes will likely be introduced.

“South Africa is one of the most carbon-intensive countries in the world and it is incumbent on this country to reduce its emissions in the future in order to play its role in stabilising the world’s climate,” said DA environmental affairs spokesman Gareth Morgan.

While cautious of the additional costs placed on business by carbon taxes, Morgan said they were essential for the creation of a price for carbon, which was a prerequisite for creating a carbon market. He added that they should be introduced gradually to allow businesses to adjust, and in conjunction with other fiscal measures that would reduce the costs of doing business in South Africa.

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The electricity crisis and climate change – poor timing

15 May 2008

I recently welcomed the completion of government’s Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) on Climate Change. The LTMS document outlines the various policy options that may be necessary in order for this country to play its role in contributing to the stabilisation of the world’s climate.

I wonder whether Eskom is going to pay any attention to this document at all. Building new coal-fired power stations without the best technology, nor with the ability for future “carbon capture and storage“, does not align it with the likely responses needed for the mitigation of climate change.

I guess a couple of readers of this blog will just say, “So what! Eskom must keep the lights on.” True, but let us at least acknowledge that this electricity crisis and the rushed development plans that will flow out of it are going to make our response to climate change more difficult. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Energy Efficiency needs to be promoted for a Sustainable Future

14 March 2008

Gareth Morgan MPThe efficient use of energy needs to become a permanent phenomenon by both business and individual consumers. Cheap electricity generated by burning our abundant dirty coal resources has resulted in South Africans becoming exceptionally wasteful.

Up until now there have been few incentives or penalties created in order to alter the way we consume electricity. Meanwhile, the true cost of generation has been passed on to the communities that reside in the vicinity of power stations – in the form of health ailments – or to the environment in general, in the form of human-induced climate change.

Government has responded to the current electricity crisis by threatening action against consumers that do not cut back their consumption in the near future. While demand-side interventions, including energy efficiency and conservation, are among the obvious requirements needed to alleviate the current state of affairs, it should not have taken a crisis situation to induce government into action. The problem with forcing energy efficiency on consumers under such conditions is that it creates resentment. Many South Africans may understandably be wondering why they have to take the hit when it was government that created this mess in the first place. Read the rest of this entry ?

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It’s time to diversify energy supply – give renewables a chance

30 January 2008

An opinion piece by Gareth Morgan MP – DA Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs

Gareth Morgan MPA wise man once said: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. The risk is that if something goes wrong, there will be no back up. Eskom has up to now invested practically all of South Africa’s electricity generating capacity in one basket. There may be reasons for that decision in the past, particularly the availability of cheap coal, but conditions are changing, and there are new opportunities on the horizon.

The solution to securing South Africa’s energy future lies in diversifying the country’s energy generation sources so that we stop depending almost entirely on coal. The key to diversification is renewable energy, which is quickly gaining momentum globally. Japan and Germany are the largest consumers of photovoltaic cells in the world despite their unfavourable geographic locations. In 2005, wind power generated 18.5% of electricity in Denmark. South Africa is still lagging behind these international trends and government has made very little progress in moving away from coal power. Read the rest of this entry ?