||We’ve soiled South Africa’s beautiful natural nest for more than a century, but the world’s interest in how we trash our environment perked up last week for two reasons:
First, the shocking announcement of acid mine drainage now arriving at the Cradle of Humankind northwest of Johannesburg thanks to the area’s pollution-intensive Minerals Energy Complex (so named by Durban economist Zav Rustomjee when he was director-general of the SA Department of Trade and Industry fifteen years ago); and
Second, hot contestation of new United States government financing for Eskom’s proposed Kusile power plant, which will be the world’s third largest coal-fired facility, thus raising SA’s carbon emissions by nearly 10 percent.
Pretoria will invoke several myths in defense of coal, Kusile and the ‘COP17’ – the November-December climate summit in Durban called the ‘Conference of the Parties 17’ but which we’ve come to know as the Conference of Polluters.
Keep a critical eye open so these strategies of government and big business don’t blind us:
Greenwashing’ will be deployed to distract hometown attention from vast CO2 emissions attributable to South Durban’s oft-exploding oil refineries and petrochemical complex, Africa’s largest port, the hyperactive tourism promotion strategy (in lieu of any bottom-up economic development), unending sports stadia construction and silly new King Shaka airport, electricity going to Assore’s dangerous Assmang Cato Ridge ferromanganese smelter (the city’s largest power guzzler by far at more than a half-million megawatt hours per year), sprawly new suburban developments, and inefficient electricity consumption and transport because of state failure to provide adequate renewable energy and mass transit incentives;
‘Offsets’ for a tiny fraction of these emissions will again be fatuously marketed to an unsuspecting public, as during the World Cup, including mass planting of trees (though when they die the carbon is re-released) and municipal landfill methane capture – even though the increasingly-corrupt offset industry and European carbon markets which market our emissions credits are now ridiculed across the world, and in economic terms are failing beyond the most pessimistic expectations;
Whacky, unworkable ‘geo-engineering’ strategies are going to multiply, such as biomass planting to convert valuable food land into fodder for ethanol fuel, or mass dumping of iron filings in the ocean to create carbon-sucking algae blooms, or ‘Carbon Capture and Sequestration/Storage’ schemes to pump power-plant CO2 underground but which tend to leak catastrophically and which require a third more coal to run, or the nuclear energy revival notwithstanding more Koeberg shutdowns; and
South African world ‘climate leadership’ will be touted, even though Pretoria’s reactionary UN negotiating stance includes fronting for Washington’s much-condemned 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which even if implemented faithfully, by all accounts, will roast Africa with a projected temperature rise of 3.5°C.
If Jacob Zuma’s government really cared about climate and about his relatives in rural KwaZulu-Natal villages who are amongst those most adversely affected by worsening droughts and floods, then it would not only halt Medupi and Kusile but also deny approval to the forty new coal mines that Eskom recently announced will soon be needed – in the process causing river and water table contamination, increased mercury residues and global warming
There’s another reason that the power of the Minerals-Energy Complex continues unchecked, even as treasures like the Cradle – and Kruger Park’s surface water – are threatened by the mining industry: political bribery. In addition to supplying the world’s cheapest power to BHP Billiton and Anglo American Corporation by honoring dubious apartheid-era deals, Eskom’s coal-fired mega-plants will also provide tens of millions of rands to African National Congress party coffers through its Chancellor House relationships with the Japanese boiler-maker Hitachi.
Other beneficiaries of Eskom’s estimated R6 billion trade finance package now being devised at Washington’s Export-Import Bank (site of an anti-Eskom protest last Thursday) include two desperate multinational corporations whose political muscle armtwisted a US Congress already notorious for payoffs: Black & Veatch from Kansas and Bucyrus from Wisconsin.
According to Bucyrus, R800 million in financing for its equipment is justifiable because of a Black Economic Empowerment partner in Gauteng and job creation for US steelworkers, even though this means that SA counterparts – especially a decades-old company, Rham (with BEE credentials), that will now fire scores of local workers – lose out in the competition.
Most importantly, the poor will repay this finance at a time South Africa has become the world's most unequal large society. For Eskom to cover interest on the R250 billion+ Medupi and Kusile powerplants requires imposing a 127 percent electricity price increase on ordinary consumers from 2009-12. This is already causing a rise in power disconnections in poor households, and so service delivery protests continue.
Instead of relying on paralysed politicians and lazy bureaucrats, for instance at next Thursday’s Durban hearings on the National Climate Change Response Green Paper hearings, civil society should unite to force adoption of genuine solutions:
Major investments in Green Jobs would let metalworkers weld millions of solar-powered geysers, for example, thus allowing Eskom to switch off power to the guzzling aluminum smelters and to halt Medupi and Kusile construction without net job losses;
New public transport subsidies should reconfigure apartheid-era urban design and pull us (willingly) from our single-occupant cars;
A job-rich zero-waste strategy would recycle nearly everything and especially compost our organic waste so as to eliminate climate-destructive methane emissions at the remaining landfills;
More ambitious Air Quality Act regulations would label as ‘pollutants’ – and then phase out – carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases, as even the US Environmental Protection Agency can do now thanks to its Clean Air Act;
Government planning and utility board decisions would halt willy-nilly suburbanisation and ungreen ‘development’; and
Instead of North-South financing via destructive carbon markets and the World Bank, the collection of ‘climate debt’ from the industrial countries would permit strings-free, effective funds for adaptation.
Through urgent consideration and adoption of genuine climate solutions like these, by the time the COP17 rolls around, the world could see in Durban a state and society committed to climate change.
But since none of these will be adopted by the current ruling crew, instead we’ll see a mass democratic movement rise, aiming to do to the climate change threat what we did to apartheid and the deniers of AIDS medicines: defeat them at source, when respectively, white politicians and their international business buddies, and Mbekites and drug companies, had to stand back and respect a new dominant morality.
(Patrick Bond’s book The Politics of Climate Justice, will be released mid-year.)
Dethroning King Coal in 2011, from West Virginia (January) to Durban (December)
South Africa’s crust was drill-pocked with abandon since Kimberley diamonds were found in 1867 and then Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) gold was unearthed in 1886. But the world’s interest in how we trash our environment perked up again last week for two reasons:
The shocking revelation that acid mine drainage is now seeping into the Johannesburg region’s ‘Cradle of Humankind’, home of hominid fossils dating more than three million years, where our Australopithecus ancestors’ earliest bones are now threatened by the area’s pollution-intensive mining industry; and
Hot contestation of new United States financing for South Africa’s proposed Kusile power plant, which will be the world’s third largest coal-fired facility.
In parallel battles, though, the beheading of King Coal is underway in West Virginia, where nine days after the January 3 cancer death of heroic eco-warrior Judy Bonds, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overturned the Army Corps of Engineers’ prior approval of Spruce No. 1 mine, the world’s largest-ever ‘mountaintop removal’ operation. Coal companies have been blowing up the once-rolling now-stumbling Appalachians. In order to rip out a ton of fossil fuel, they dump 16 tons of rubble into the adjoining valleys.
After an avalanche of pressure by mountain communities and environmentalists, the EPA ruled against the “unacceptable adverse effect on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds and fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas), wildlife, or recreational areas.” According to leading US climatologist James Hansen, quoted in Bonds’ New York Times obituary last week, “There are many things we ought to do to deal with climate change, but stopping mountaintop-removal is the place to start. Coal contributes the most carbon dioxide of any energy source.” The EPA also took a stance in late December to belatedly begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Through activism and legal strategies, US communities and the Sierra Club have prevented construction of 150 proposed coal-fired power plants over the last couple of years, a remarkable accomplishment (only a couple got through their net).
But in South Africa, the fight is just beginning. The national government in Pretoria and municipal officials in seaside Durban will continue invoking several myths in defense of coal, Kusile and the ‘COP17’, the November 28-December 9 climate summit officially called the ‘Conference of the Parties 17’ (but which should be renamed the Conference of Polluters). Here are some strategies of the SA state and big business meant to blind us:
In Durban, aggressive ‘greenwashing’ will attempt to distract attention from vast CO2 emissions attributable to South Durban’s oft-exploding oil refineries and petrochemical complex, Africa’s largest port, the hyperactive tourism promotion strategy (in lieu of any bottom-up economic development), unending sports stadia construction and unnecessary new King Shaka international airport, electricity going to the very dangerous Assmang ferromanganese smelter (the city’s largest power guzzler by far at more than a half-million megawatt hours per year), sprawly new suburban developments, and inefficient electricity consumption and transport because of state failure to provide adequate renewable energy and mass transit incentives;
‘Offsets’ for a tiny fraction of Durban’s emissions will again be fatuously marketed to an unsuspecting public, as during the 2010 World Cup, including mass planting of trees (though when they die the carbon is re-released) and municipal landfill methane capture – even though the increasingly-corrupt offset industry and European carbon markets which market our emissions credits are now ridiculed across the world, and in economic terms are failing beyond even the most pessimistic predictions;
Whacky, unworkable ‘geo-engineering’ strategies are going to multiply, such as biomass planting to convert valuable food land into fodder for ethanol fuel, or mass dumping of iron filings in the ocean to create carbon-sucking algae blooms, or ‘Carbon Capture and Sequestration/Storage’ schemes to pump power-plant CO2 underground but which tend to leak catastrophically and which require a third more coal to run, or the nuclear energy revival notwithstanding more shutdowns at the main plant, Koeberg (five years ago the industry minister, Alec Erwin, notoriously described as ‘sabotage’ a minor Koeberg accident that cost the ruling party its control of Cape Town in the subsequent municipal election); and
South African ‘global climate leadership’ will be touted, even though Pretoria’s reactionary United Nations negotiating stance includes fronting for Washington’s much-condemned 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which even if implemented faithfully, by all accounts, will roast Africa with a projected temperature rise of 3.5°C.
As even the government’s new National Climate Change Response Green Paper admits, “Should multi-lateral international action not effectively limit the average global temperature increase to below at least 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the potential impacts on South Africa in the medium- to long-term are significant and potentially catastrophic.” The paper warns that under conservative assumptions, “after 2050, warming is projected to reach around 3-4°C along the coast, and 6-7°C in the interior” – which is, simply, non-survivable.
If President Jacob Zuma’s government really cared about climate and about his relatives in rural KwaZulu-Natal villages who are amongst those most adversely affected by worsening droughts and floods, then it would not only halt the $21 billion worth of electricity generators being built by state power company Eskom: Medupi is under construction and Kusile will begin soon. Pretoria would also deny approval to the forty new mines allegedly needed to supply the plants with coal, for just as at the Cradle of Humankind and in West Virginia, these mines will cause permanent contamination of rivers and water tables, increased mercury residues and global warming.
More evidence of the Witwatersrand’s degradation comes from tireless water campaigner Mariette Liefferink, who counts 270 tailings dams in a 400 square kilometer mining zone. With gold nearly depleted, as Liefferink told a Joburg paper last week, uranium is an eco-social activist target: “Nowhere in the world do you see these mountains of uranium and people living in and among them. You have people living on hazardous toxic waste and of course some areas are also high in radioactivity.”
The toxic tailings dams are typically unlined, unvegetated and unable to contain the mines’ prolific air, water and soil pollution. Other long-term anti-mining struggles continue in South African locales: against platinum in the Northwest and Limpopo provinces, against titanium on the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, and against coal in the area bordering Zimbabwe known as Mapungubwe where relics from a priceless ancient civilization will be destroyed unless mining is halted (as even the government agrees).
There’s another reason that the power of what is termed the Minerals-Energy Complex continues unchecked, even as treasures like the Cradle – and also the priceless Kruger Park’s surface water plus millions of people’s health – are threatened: political bribery. In addition to supplying the world’s cheapest power to BHP Billiton and Anglo American Corporation smelters by honoring dubious apartheid-era deals, Eskom’s coal-fired mega-plants will provide millions of dollars to African National Congress (ANC) party coffers through crony-capitalist relations with the Japanese firm Hitachi.
Last year, Pretoria’s own ombudsman termed the role of then Eskom chairman and ANC Finance Committee member Valli Moosa ‘improper’ in cutting the Hitachi deal. As a result, even pro-corporate Business Day newspaper joined more than 60 local civil society groups and 80 others around the world in formally denouncing $3.75 billion World Bank loan to Eskom which were granted by neoconservative-neoliberal Bank president Robert Zoellick last April.
Other beneficiaries of Washington’s upcoming trade finance package for Eskom include two desperate multinational corporations: Black & Veatch from Kansas and Bucyrus from Wisconsin. The latter showed its clout last October when in order to fund machinery exports to the huge Sasan coal-fired plant in India with US Export-Import Bank subsidies, the Milwaukee firm yanked members of Congress so hard that they in turn compelled the Bank to reverse an earlier decision not to fund Sasan on climate grounds.
But now, after the EPA’s slapdown of Spruce No. 1, Bucyrus must be really nervous. Forty years ago, John Prine wrote the haunting song ‘Paradise’ about the strip-mining of his Kentucky homeland, with this verse describing a creature known as ‘Big Hog’:
Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.
Big Hog was a Bucyrus-Erie 3850-B dragline shovel. With West Virginia coal companies no longer buying these monsters, the company is fanatical about overseas sales. As a result, last Thursday, two dozen of us gathered by Friends of the Earth and Sierra found ourselves shouting slogans against Eskom and Bucyrus outside the Ex-Im Bank’s Washington headquarters.
The Milwaukee corporation rebutted that Ex-Im financing was justifiable because of a Johannesburg Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partner plus Wisconsin steelworkers jobs, even though this means that South African counterparts – especially a Joburg company, Rham, that will apparently fire scores of local employees – lose out. Bucyrus’s 2010 contract to supply Eskom with coal mining equipment became a scandal subject to a parliamentary investigation last September. Given the Witwatersrand area’s historical world leadership in mining equipment, businesses there claim there’s no obvious reason why local firms cannot supply Eskom at much lower cost (one third of Bucyrus’ in that particular case).
Most importantly, the poor will repay this finance at a time South Africa has become the world's most unequal society and unemployment is raging. For Eskom to cover interest bills on Medupi and Kusile loans requires a 127 percent electricity price increase for ordinary consumers over four years. This has already raised power disconnection rates for poor households, and on Monday, Durban police made 25 arrests of shackdwellers for electricity theft.
This multiple set of interlinked climate-energy-economic travesties can only be reversed by grassroots and labor activism. At the Durban COP 17, don’t expect a global deal that can save the planet, given prevailing adverse power relations. Instead of relying on paralyzed politicians and lazy bureaucrats, South Africa’s environmental, community, women’s, youth and labor voices will be demanding serious action to address the greatest crisis of our times:
Major investments in Green Jobs would let metalworkers weld millions of solar-powered geysers, for example, thus allowing Eskom to switch off power to BHP Billiton’s aluminum smelters and to halt new powerplant construction without net job loss;
New public transport subsidies should reconfigure apartheid-era urban design and pull us willingly from single-occupant cars;
An employment-rich zero-waste strategy would recycle nearly everything and compost our organic waste so as to eliminate methane emissions at the remaining landfills;
More direct-action protests against major emissions point sources – Eskom, Sasol (apartheid’s wicked coal-to-oil company), the Engen refinery in South Durban and the new Durban-Joburg oil mega-pipeline, for instance – should better link micro-environmental struggles over local air, water and land quality to climate change;
More ambitious Air Quality Act regulations would label – and then phase out – carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas ‘pollutants’, as with the US Clean Air Act;
Government planning and utility board decisions would halt willy-nilly suburbanisation and ungreen ‘development’; and
Instead of North-South financing via destructive carbon markets, the demand for ‘climate debt’ would permit the flow of strings-free, non-corrupt and effective adaptation funds.
Through urgent adoption of genuine post-carbon strategies like these, by the time the COP17 rolls around, the world could see in Durban a state and society committed to reversing climate change.
But get real. Since none of these will be considered much less implemented by the current ruling crew, instead we’ll see a mass democratic movement rise, aiming to do to the climate threat what we did to apartheid and the deniers of AIDS medicines: defeat them at source, when respectively, old white politicians and their international business buddies, and Thabo Mbeki and Big Pharma, had to stand back and respect a new morality, a new bottom-up power.
(Durban-based academic Patrick Bond’s book The Politics of Climate Justice will be released later this year, and recent articles are posted at ccs.ukzn.ac.za/default.asp?4,80.)
Siqeda ukuziqhayisa kwemboni yamalahle ngo2011, kusukela eWest Virginia (ngenyanga efile) kuze kube (uZibandlela) eThekwini
NguPatrick Bond Yahunyushwa NguFaith ka-Manzi
Umhlaba waseNingizimu Afrika ushiywe uyimigodigodi ekhamisile yase ishiywa kanjalo kusika phansi-nje kutholakala amadayimani ngonyaka ka1867 eKimerley kanye negolide eWitswatersrand (lapho osekuyiseGoli manje) ngo1886. Kodwa ukuba nendaba komhlaba ngendlela esiyicekela phansi ngayo imvelo yethu ike yaqhubeka futhi ngesonto elidlule ngenxa yezizathu ezimbili:
• iqiniso elithusayo ukuthi ukuvuza kwezingqumbi zezimayini zesisisi i-acid sekuchithekela endaweni yaseGoli eyaziwa ‘Njengendawo lapho kwadabuka khona uluntu’ (Cradle of humankind), ikhaya lakhokho labantu kusukela eminyakeni eyizigidi ezintathu zeminyaka, lapho amathambo kakhokho uAustralopithecus asengcupheni yokunyamalala ngenxa yokungcoliswa komoya ubukhulu bemboni yokumba phansi; kanye
• nokuphikiswa kakhulu kokutshalwa kwezimali eNingizimu Afrika yizwe laseMelika ukuze kwakhiwe indawo lapho kuzokhiqizwa khona amandla kagesi, okuyoba isakhiwo esikhulu ngekwesithathu emhlabeni wonke samandla kagesi aphehlwe ngamalahle.
Kwenye impi ekubhekwenwe nayo, ukuqedwa kokumbiwa kwamalahle eWest Virginia, okwathi emva kwezinsuku eziyisishagalolunye emva kuka3Januwari kushone iqhawe lesishoshovu samalungelo ezemvelo ebulawa umdlavuza uJudy Bonds, iEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) yachitha isinqumo esasivumela iArmy Corps of Engineers ukuthi imbe futhi kuthuthwe iphezulu lentaba lapho kumbiwa khona amalahle. Izinkampani zamalahle kudala zaqala zicekela phansi izintaba ezinhle zaseAppalachians. Ukuze bambe ithani lamandla okubasa endalo, kufanele balahle amathani ayishumi nesithupha ezibi ezindaweni ezakhelene nabo.
Emva kwengcindezi enkulu yimiphakathi eyakhelene nentaba kanye nezishoshovu zezemvelo, iEPA ithathe isinqumo lapho ichithe khona ukuthi “angeke ikwamukele ukungcoliswa kwamanzi kamasipala okunobungozi, imibhede yofishi izizinda zokudoba (ngisho nalapho ofishi bechamusela khona), izitshalo kanye nezilwane zasendle kanye nezindawo zokungcebeleka.’ Ngokusho kukangoti wesangoma sezulu waseMelika James Hansen, ebhala ngohamba kukaBonds emhlabeni kwiNew York Times kulamasonto edlule wathu, “Kunezinto eziningi ekufanele sibhekane mayelana nokushintsha kwesimo sezulu, kodwa ukumbiwa kokususwa komhlaba wentaba indawo esingaqala kuyona. Amalahle iwona adala isisisi esingcolisa kakhulu umoya lapho kwenziwa khona amandla kagesi.” IEPA yathatha igxathu sekuyophela inyanga kaDisemba nyakenye lapho noma isihanjelwe ukulawula ukukhiqizwa kwezisisiezingcolisa umoya.
Ngokusukumela lesisimo kanye nezindlela zomthetho, imiphakathi yaseMelika kanye neqembu leSierra bavimbele ukwakhiwo kwezindawo eziyikhulu namashumi amahlanu zamandla kagesi enziwa ngokuphehlwa amalahle eminyakeni embalwa edlule, okungukunqoba okumangalisayo (zimbalwa izakhiwo ezagcina zenziwe).
Kodwa eNingizimu Afrika, impi ima isaqala. Uhulumeni kazwelonke wasePitoli kanye neziphathimandla zikamasipala wedolobha elisechwebeni iTheku bayaqhubeka mokukhuluma imbued bevikela amalahle, iKusile kanye ne‘COP17’, ingqingquthela ezokuba kusukela zingu28Novemba kuze kube zingu9Disemba babize lengqungquthela phecelezi ngokuthi i‘Conference of the Parties 17’ okusho ukuthi iNgqungquthela yeziNhlangano ezingu17 (kodwa ekufanele ibizwe phecelezi ngokuthi iConference of Polluters okungukuthi iNgqungquthela Yabangcolisi bakaMoya). Nazi-ke izinye izindlela uhulumeni waseNingizimu Afrika kanye nongxiwankulu abafuna ukusixhopha ngakho:
• eThekwini, ukukhuluma kakhulu ‘ngokunakekela imvelo’ kuyobe kuzama ukuthi inganakwa indaba yesisisi siphuma kakhulu seCO2 eNingizimu neTheku (SouthDurban) lapho kuhlale kubhamuka obhayela bamafutha esizindeni sawo,lapho kunechweba elikhulukazi eAfrika yonke, kanye nokugqugquzelwa ezokungcebeleka (njengendlela yokuthuthukisa ezomnotho kusukela phansi), ukungapheli kokwakhiwa kwenkundla yezemidlalo kanye nesiphumulo sezindiza esisha esingadingakali iNkosi Shaka, ugesi othekelelwa isincibilikisi esinengozi saseAssmang (okuyiyina mboni edla kakhulu amandla kagesi kulelidolobha ngamamegawatt ayingxenye yesigidi zamahora ngonyaka), ukwakhiwa ngokwenaba izindawo ezintsha zokuhlala abanemali, ukushoda kukagesi okwanele kanye nezokuthutha ngoba uhulumeni uyehluleka ukwenza amandla kagesi enziwa kabusha ngokwanele kanye nezindlela ezintsha zokuthutha abantu;
• ‘ukulutha abantu’ ukuze isibalo esincane sesisisi esingcolisa umoya kube sengathi siyahlanzwa kuzokwenziwa emphakathini ongazelele, njengoba kwenziwa ngeNdebe yoMhlaba ka2010, njengokutshalwa kwezihlahla eziningi (okuthi masezifa ziphinde zikhiqize isisisi) nokuqhubeka kokugcina isisisi semethane emigodini yezibi – noma ngabe lemboni eluthayo kanye nezomboni zezisisi ezingcolisa umoya zasemazweni aseNyakatho ezimaketha ukukhiqizwa kwalesisisi zigxekwa umhlaba wonke, bese kuthi ngolimi lwezomnotho zibonakala zihluleka ukwenza ngisho encane inzuzo le;
• zizoqala-ke izindlela eziningi ezingasebenzi, njengokutshalwa komanyolo ukwenza ukudla okudingekayo kube amandla okubasa, noma ukulahlwa kwezibi zensimbi olwandle ukuze isisisi seCO2 sizike ngobungozi phansi kolwandle kodwa futhi okuvele kuvuze ngokucekela phansi futhi okudinga ingxenye enkulu yamalahle ukuze kwenzeke, noma ukuvuselelwa lwamandla enuclear ngaphandle kokubheka ukuvalwa kwezinye izakhiwo embonini enkulu, iKoeberg (eminyakeni eyisihlanu edlule ungqongqoshe wezezimboni, uAlec Erwin, wachaza ngobudedengu ukuthi ukuhlaselwa ingozi eyenzeka eKoeberg eyaholela ekutheni iqembu elibusayo lilahlekelwe ubuholi bezombusazweni edolobheni laseKapa nangokhetho olwalandela lukamasipala); kanye
• ‘iqembu labaholi bezesimo sezulu bomhlaba’ baseNingizimu Afrika bazoma ukunxenxa bantu, noma izingxoxo zePitoli neNhlangano yeZizwe engenamphumela ehlanganisa nokuxhasa 2009 Copenhagen Accord yaseWashington egxekwe kakhulu, okungathi noma yenziwa ngokuzimisele iyokwenyusa amazinga okushisa eAfrika ngobungozi obukhulu ngo3.5°C.
Njengoba neGreen Paper yeNational Climate Change Response kahulumeni ivuma, “Umangase amazinga okushisa omhlaba ajwayelekile engase enyuke ngaphansana kuka 2°C ngaphezu kwezinga lezimboni, kunokwenzeka ukuthi umphumela ongaba khona eNingizimu Afrika ongadala umonakalo onobungozi obukhulu futhi ongathatha isikhathi eside ukubuye esimweni esijwayelekile.” Leliphepha lixwayisa ngokuqagelela ukulondolozwa kwezemvelo,” emva kuka5050, izinga lokushisa liyobe selifike ku3-4°C ikakhulukazi emadolobheni akhelene nolwandle, bese kuthi maphakathi nezwe kufike ku6-7°C” – akekho futhi ongaphilo kulesosimo.
Umangabe uhulumeni kaMongameli Gedleyihlekisa Zuma enendaba ngesimo sezulu kanye nezihlobo zakhe ezihlala emaphandleni aKwaZulu-Natal okuyibona abahlaselwa kakhulu ukwanda kwesomiso kanye nozamcolo ngeke agcine-nje emisile uhlelo lokusetshenziswa kuka$21 billion wezibasi zamandla kagesi ezakhiwa imboni yezamandla kagesi kahuluumeni uEskom: njengeMedupi okumanje iyakhiwa kanye neKusile nayo elungiselelwa ukwakhiwa khona maduzane. IPitoli futhi liyonqaba futhi ukuvuma ukuthi ilona elivumlelile ukuthi kwenziwe izimayini ezingamashumi amane okuthiwa zidingakala ukuthi zikhiqizele lezizimboni ezakhiwayo zamnadla kagesi ngemalahle, njengoba kwenzeka Lapho Kwadabuka khona uluntu (Cradle of Humankind) kanye naseWest Virginia, lezizimayini zidala umonakalo ongapheli wokungcolisa imifula kanye nokushisa kakhulu kwezulu emhlabeni wonke.
Ubufakazi obuningi bokucekelwa phansi kwendawo yaseWitwatersrand kuvela ocwaningweni olwenziwe isishoshovu samanzi uMariette Liefferink, kunensalela eningi yamachibi angu270 asale ngenkathi kumbiwa amadayimane negolide. Njengoba igolide seliphela ngaphansi komhlaba, njengoba noLiefferink ayetshela iphephandaba laseGoli emasontweni adlule, ukulwa nokumbiwa kweuranium ikhona-ke izishoshovi esezibhekena nakho: “Akukho ndawo emhlabeni ezintabeni lapho kumbiwa khona iuranium izakhamuzi zakhona zihlala eduze nayo. Uthola abantu behlezi ezibini ezinobungozi obukhulu ezidala izifo ezifana nomdlavuza.”
Lamachibi angalawuleki, amanzi awo angeke akwazi uchela izitshalo ziphile futhi awakwazi ukusekela impilo yomoya, amanzi kanye nonhlabathi ecekelwe phansi ukungcoliswa izibi zesisisi. Ezinye izindlela zezishoshovu ezimelene nokumbiwa nezimboni zokumbiwa phansi imiphakathi yaseNingizimu Afrika: ukumbiwa kweplatinami eLimpopo kanye naseNorthWest, kanye nokumbiwa kwetitanium eMpumalanga Kapa eWild Coast, kanye nokumbiwa kwamalahle nasendaweni esemingceleni waseZimbabwe eyaziwa ngeMapungubwe lapho kunezinsalela zomlando bokhokho bakudala futhi ezingase zicekeleke phansi uma ukumbiwa kungamiswa (njengoba nohulumeni ekuvuma lokhu).
Kukhona futhi idlanzana leqembu elibizwa ngokuthi iMinerals-Energy Complex eqhubeka ngaphandle kokuqashwa, njengoba indawo efana nokudabuka koluntu – kanye namanzi aseKruger Park kanye nezimpilo zezigidigidi zabantu – zisebungozini: ukusekelana nezombusazwe okunenkuhlakalo. Ngaphandle-ne kokuthekeleka amandla akagesi ngamanzi aphansi kakhulu emhlabeni wonke kwizincibilikisi zemboni yaseBHP Billiton kanye neAnglo American Corporation kuhlonishwa izinqumo ezinobungebengu ezenziwa ngesikhathi sobandlululo, izimayini zamalahle azophehlwa ngamalahle ezakhiwa nguEskom ziyofaka izigidigidi zamadola kwiqembu elibusayo lezombusazo uKhongolose (African National Congress ngenxa yobungani benkohlakalo nongxiwankulu benkampani yaseJapani iHitachi.
Ngonyaka odlule, ababeqokwe iPitoli ukubhekelela umphakathi uma sekwenziwa izinqumo ezinobungozi bathi igalelo likasihlalo weEskom kanye nelunga leKomidi leZimali likaKhongolose uValli Moosa ‘alinabulungiswa’ ngokuhlela ukuhwebelana neHitachi Umphumela walokhu futhi kwenza iphephandaba elihlala liseka ongxiwankulu iBusiness Day ihlanganyele namaqembu emiphakathi angamashumi ayisithupha kanye nangamashumi ayisishagalombili omhlaba begxeka ukubolekwa kweEskom u$3.75 billion iWorld Bank eyagunyazwa ongxiwankulu abangontamolukhuni abaholwa ngomongameli weBhange uRobert Zoellick ngoApril wonyaka odlule.
Abanye abazohlomula kulezimali zokuhweba eziqhamuka eWashington ezitshalwa kwaEskom zimbandakanya okopoletsheni ababili abadinga kakhulu imali: iBlack & Veatch yaseKansas kanye neBucyrus yaseWisconsin. IBucyrus yakhombisa amandla ayo ngonuaka odlule ngenyanga kaOktoba ukuze kuxhaswe imboni enkulu yomba amalahle iSasan yaseIndia ngezimali zamabhange aseMelika, lemboni yayalela amalunga asephalamende laseMelika ukuba angalinge amelane nabo okwenza ukuthi kuhlehliswe isinqumo esaseshayiwe sokuthi iBhange lingaxhasi iSasan ngesizathu sesimo sezulu.
Kodwa manje emva kokugxekwa yiEPA, iBucyrus isinokutatazela. Eminyakeni engamashumi amane adlule, uJohn Prine wabhala iculo elinomunyu ‘iParadise’ ngokucekelwa phansi kokumbiwa lapho azalelwa khona eKentucky, ngalesisahlukwana esingenzansi uchaza ngesilwane asibiza ‘ngeNgulube eNkulu’:
Yafika-ke imboni enkulu yamalahle nofosholo elikhulukazi emhlabeni
Bahlukumeza imithi bashiya izwe linqunu
Baqhubeka, nokumba amalahle izwe lagcina lomile
Base bekuqopha phansi njengokuthuthuka komuntu.
INgulube eNkulu kwakuyifosholo lempoqo iBucyrus-Erie 3850-B. Njengoba izimboni zamalahle zaseWest Virginia zingasawathengi lamafosholo, iBucyrus ifudulela lomkhiqizo ukuthi udayiselwe amazwe angaphandle. Ngenxa yalokho emasontweni ambalwa adlule, idlanzana lethu elalihlanganyelene neFriends of the Earth kanye neSierra sazithola simemeza iziqubulo ezimelene noEskom neBucyrus ngaphandle kwesakhiwo esiyikomkhulu leEx-Im Bank eWashington.
Lemboni yaseMilwaukee yathi kungamanga ukuthi ukuxhaswa ngezimali iEx-Im kunesidingo ngoba nozakwabo walemboni oyiBlack Economic Empowerment (BEE) eGoli nemisebenzi eminingi yensimbi yaseWisconsin, lokhu kwakusho ozakwabo eNingizimu Afrika – ikakhulukazi inkampani yaseGoli, iRham, ezoxosha iningi labasebenzi – nayo ayihlomulanga. Izindaba zokuthi inkontileka yeBucyrus yango2010 iyona eyayizosabalalisa izinsimbi zokumbiwa kwamalahle kuEskom yavela njengehlazo okwenza ukuthi iphalamende yenzee uphenyo ngonyaka odlule ngoSeptemba. Njengoba phela kunengqophamlando ekubeni kwezimboni zokwakha izinsimbi zokumba ezimayini khona lapho eWiwatersrand, abahwebi bathi asikho esidingo esisobala esasingenza ukuthi izimboni zakuleli zingakwazi ukuthengisela uEskom lezizinsimbi (ngamanani aphansi kakhulu kunalawa afunwa yiBucyrus).
Okubalulekile kakhulu, ukuthi abahlwempu ibona abayokhokhela lesisikweletu ngesikhathi lapho iNingizimu Afrika iba isizwe esinegebe elikhulu lokungalingani kanti futhi kubhoke indlala yemisebenzi. Ukuze uEskom ukwazi ukukhokhela inzalo edalwe izikweletu zokwakha iMedupi neKusile kudinga ukwenyuswa kwenani likagesi ngamaphesenti angu127 kwizakhamizi iminyaka emine. Lokhu vele sekunyuse ukuvalelwa ugesi ezindlini zabahlwempu, futhi kulezizinsuku ezidlule, amaphoyisa aseThekwini abopha abahlali basemjondolo abangu25 ngokuntshontsha ugesi.
Lamahlazo amaningi kangaka ambandakanya nokushintsha kwesimo sezulu angalungiswa ngubushoshovu babasebenzi kanye nezinhlaka zezinhlangano ezizinze emiphakathini. Kwi COP 17 eThekwini, akungalindelwa uhlelo lomhlaba olungawuhlenga, ngenxa yobungani obunenkohlakalo kulabo abasemandleni. Esikhundleni sokuthembela kwabezombusazwe abakhubazekile kanye neziphathimandla ezingamavila, amazwi ezinhlaka zemiphakathi ezishoshovu zemvelo, zabesifazane, abasha kanye nabasebenzi afune ngodli dlakalasi icebo lokubhekana nalesisimo esiphuthumayo kakhulu esibhekene nesizukulwane sethu:
• Ukutshalwa kakhulu kwezimali emisebenzini evikela imvelo (Green Jobs) ingenza abasebenzi bensimbi bakhe izigidigidi zezimbawula zamandla kagesi aqhamuka elangeni (solar-powered geysers),ngokwesiboneli-nje, ngabe benzela ukuthi uEskom avale amandla kagesi kwizincibilikisi zealuminiyami zaseBHP Billiton futhi bese kumiswa ukwakhiwa kwezizinda zamandla kagesi ngaphandle kokuba abantu balahlekelwe imisebenzi;
Izindlela ezintsha zokuthutha ezixhaswe ngezimali zingaphindisela emuva indlela embi ekwakwakhiwe ngayo izindlela zokuthutha ngesikhathi sobandlululo futhi lokho kusenze sonke sikujabulele ukuthuthwa izinqola zompahakathi;
• Ukuqashwa kwabantu lapho izibi zingasetshenziswa kabusha bese kuthi izinto ezibolayo zenziwe umannyolo ukuze kuqedwe ukukhiqizwa kwesisisi semethane emigodini esasele yezibi;
• Kufanele imibhikilisho ebhekene ngqo nezizinda lapho kukhiqizwa khona izisisi ezingcolisa umoya – njengeEskom, iSasol (imboni yangesikhathi sobandlululo eyashintsha ekukhiqizeni amalahle yakhiqiza amafutha), izincebilikisi zezimbawula zakwaEngen eNingizimu neTheku kanye nepayipi elikhulu lwamafutha elisuka eThekwini liya eGoli, kufanele kuhlanganyele izinhlaka zemiphakathi ezilwela ezemvelo njengamanzi, umoya kanye nezwe elisesimweni esihle ukuze kubhekwane nesimo solushintsha kwezulu;
• Imigomo enentuthuko yokulawula umoya ohlanzekile (Air Quality Act) ingashikashikeka ilwa nokuqeda izisisi ezingcolise umoya iCO2, imethane kanye nezinye ‘njengezingcolis umoya’, njengomgomo olawula eMelika iUS Clean Air Act;
• Imizimba kahulumeni ethatha izinqumo bayovimba ukwakhiwa kwezindawo zokuhlala kanye nezinye izizinda ezaziwa ‘njengezentuthuko’ kodwa zibe zingcolisa ezemvelo; futhi
• Esikhundleni sokuthi amazwe aseNyakatho naseNingizimu axhase ngezimali ngezindlela ezicekele phansi zezimakethe zezisisi, ukufunwa ‘kwesikeletu sokushintsha kwesimo sezulu’ avumele ukuxhasa ngezimali ezingenamibandela, ezingenankohlakalo futhi ezingesetshenziselwa noma yini eyenza umehluko.
Uma ngase kuthathwe izinyathelo ezinjalo ezidingeka ngokushesha, kungathi kufika isikhathi seCOP17, umhlaba ubone iTheku njengohulumeni kanye nomphakathi ozinikele ukulwa nokushintsha kwesimo sezulu.
Kodwa-ke siyalazi iqiniso. Njengoba lezizinyathelo zingeke zicatshangwe ngaphandle-nje ukuthi zingenziwa yizikhulu eziphethe njengamanje, esikhundleni salokho sizobona izinhlaka zonke zemiphakathi zomzabalazo zivuka umbhejazane, zizimisele ukwenza lokho kulaba abafuna ukusicekela phansi ngokwenza umonakalo wokushintsha kwesimo sezulu njengoba senza kontamolukhuni bobandlululo kanye nababengafuni ukusinika imisganguzo yengculazi: ukubaguqisa phansi lapho emsukeni wodaba, lapho abezombusazwe izaguga ezimhlophe kanye nabangani babo bamazwe aphesheya, noThabo Mbeki nezimboni ezinkulu zemishanguzo, kofanele bame babukele, bahloniphe isikhathi lapho sekufika isizukulwane esisha esinonembeza esikhathelele uwonkewonke.
(uPatrick Bond uSolwazi waseThekwini obhale incwadi iThe Politics of Climate Justice ezoqala ukutholakala ngokuphela kwalonyaka ungavakashela kulewebsite ukufunda eminye imisebenzi yakhe (http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za/default.asp?4,80.)