Environment and Energy

Like many developing countries, South Africa is caught in a dilemma: we need to produce more energy, especially electricity, in order to promote economic growth and to improve living conditions. However, the cheapest way of doing this involves building more coal-fired power stations, which risks contributing to global warming, as well as other negative environmental consequences such as open-cast mining and air pollution. Substantial work has been done by both the government and the private sector to promote alternative and sustainable forms of energy, but these are still very far from providing a significant portion of the energy required. The country must also prepare for the predicted effects of climate change – the dry parts of the country, where much of the major agricultural production takes place, will become drier, while the eastern half of the country will become prone to flooding.

Environmental conservation and tourism, if properly managed, could be a major contributor to the economy and to job-creation. However, we are facing a crisis as rural communities, living in poverty, turn to poaching wild animals (encouraged by syndicates with roots in the far-East) and even to invading land set aside for conservation. This competition between short- and long-term needs requires careful policy and legislative intervention.

Sub-themes:

  1. Sustainable Energy
  2. Traditional Forms of Energy
  3. Global Warming and Climate Change
  4. Conservation