SA’s first climate-change litigation will be heard on Thursday in the High Court in Pretoria when nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Earthlife Africa contests a decision by the environmental affairs minister to authorise a proposed Limpopo coal-fired power station. Challenging the department’s decision to sign off the Thabametsi power plant without a comprehensive climate-change impact assessment, the NGO, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, lodged an appeal that was dismissed by the minister. It is now asking the court to instruct that such an impact assessment be conducted. Earthlife Africa is part of the Life After Coal campaign, which discourages investment in new coal-fired power stations. It is arguing that, by ordering an impact report, the minister acknowledged that the highly significant climate-change impacts arising from coal stations need to be considered. The Department of Environmental Affairs admits that although an environmental impact assessment was ...

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