No job is too important to be created or sustained at the expense of the well being of our children and their future, writes Mamphela Ramphele.
There is no place to hide from the climate emergencies upon us. We have the responsibility as the people and citizens of Africa, to put pressure on our leaders to respond urgently and decisively to turn these crises into opportunities for greater shared prosperity.
Africa, the Mother Continent, is both the most vulnerable and has the greatest opportunities to respond to the climate emergencies upon us. Our population profile as the youngest in the world offers us the opportunity to innovate and to harness youthful energy to transform our socio-economic models. We have vast expanses of land including desert areas, to use for renewable energy programs and to plant millions of trees to absorb the noxious gases that are chocking us.
We need to demand that our leaders live up to the commitments they have made under the 2015 IPCC Paris Agreement to lead just transitions to more ecologically sound development approaches. Those commitments come with the negotiated $200bn per annum of development aid to fund just transition programs. Why are we not dipping into this treasure trove?
Last week a Greenpeace report revealed that Kriel in Mpumalanga, with its high concentration of coal-fired power stations, ranks as the second worst SO2 emission hotspot in the world. SO2 is a toxic pollutant that can result in lower respiratory infections, increased risk of stroke and increased risk of death from diabetes. SO2 emissions also contribute to the secondary formation of the dangerous pollutant called fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which expert research shows is causally linked to several severe conditions, including lung cancer.
Globally, power plants and industries burning coal and oil are responsible for two-thirds of human generated sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission hotspots tracked by NASA satellites. Oil refineries and metals smelters are the other major sources worldwide. This ranking of global SO2 emission hotspots demonstrates the need for stronger emission standards for coal power plants and industry and a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. Yet we have Eskom and Sasol still daring to ask to be exempted from meeting standards they knew they had to meet more than a decade ago. How can we the people continue to allow this irresponsibility?
- Read the full article at News24.