In his response to the debate on his state of the nation address (Sona), President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “If we are a country that prioritises the interests of the poor and the vulnerable, then we need to act with greater urgency to respond to the effects of climate change and make our contribution to preventing it.” Our national development plan identifies poverty and inequality as “apex” priorities. So how can we reduce inequality and greenhouse gas emissions? How do we respond to the crises facing our country and the planet? In the past, we have followed a path of energy development that has been built around coal, driven by the interests of the minerals-energy complex that still dominates our country. The use of coal for almost all of our electricity and 30% of our liquid fuel is what has brought us a society with high unemployment. Not only is work on the mines incredibly hard, but jobs for relatively unskilled workers in coal mining and power plants have been declining. Unempl...

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