Last night 500 activists arrived in Durban to campaign for one million climate jobs now. Climate jobs present a joint solution to the crises of unemployment and climate change, and it is feasible and affordable for the government to create one million climate jobs immediately.
The group of more than 500 activists represent over 40 civil society organisations who fight for equitable access to land, food, water, shelter and clean energy. They travelled from various parts of South Africa: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, East London, the Vaal triangle, Johannesburg, Welkom, Soweto and Mpumalanga. They will join thousands of South Africans who will march together on December 3rd to express outrage at the betrayal by the world’s governments at the climate change negotiations.
All 500 are part of a movement to campaign for one million climate jobs. Climate jobs are decent, people- and publicly driven jobs that reduce the causes and impacts of climate change. They are based on three principles: ecological sustainability, social justice and state intervention. Climate jobs:
1. reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses we emit, to make sure that we prevent catastrophic climate change;
2. build our capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change (e.g. jobs that improve our food security);
3. provide and secure vital services, especially water, energy and sanitation (this includes reducing wasteful over-consumption)
Events to take note of :
International Climate Jobs Conference
4 December 2011, 09h30-17h00
Launch of the One Million Climate Jobs research findings
6 December 2011, 10h00-15h00
At the People’s Space, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa must be held accountable for its own contribution to climate change, and must address its high emissions as part of an international strategy to slow down climate change. Although a relatively small economy, South Africa’s emissions are in line with highly industrialised countries such as Britain and Italy, primarily because of its energy-intensive mining and minerals-processing industries, coal-produced electricity and coal-to-liquids plants. It is responsible for about half of Africa’s emissions and is the 12th biggest emitter globally.
Electricity generation is responsible for about 40% of the country’s emissions with about 93 per cent of electricity generated from coal-fired power plants. The industrial sector accounts for over 40% of total energy consumption in the country, and over 50% of electricity. Industrial electricity demand is in turn dominated by key firms in the Energy Intensive User Group, an industry lobby group that together accounts for about 45% of electricity use in the country. Less than a fifth of electricity generated is used in homes, and even within the residential sector there is extreme energy injustice. Two million poor households use about 0.45% of the electricity sold by Eskom, and only 2.4% of residential electricity.
The richest 4% of South Africans are responsible for more carbon pollution than the poorest 80%.
To limit global warming to below 1.5° C, we need to reduce global emissions drastically by 2050, starting now. A fair carbon budget for the world would require South Africa to reduce its annual emissions by 25%. South Africa must plan well and use its fair share of carbon pollution space creatively, to develop new systems and industries that will allow us to make a just transition to a low carbon economy.
The One Million Climate Jobs Campaign is an alliance of labour, social movements and other civil society organisations in South Africa that recognise the value of a collective approach to the crises of unemployment and climate change. It is based on well-researched solutions for how South Africa can immediately begin a just transition to a low carbon economy.