SA and Eskom have been targeted in a pollution propaganda campaign. An entity calling itself the Centre for Research on Energy & Clean Air  (CREA) has labelled Eskom the world’s biggest sulphur dioxide emitter.

CNN’s pollution index shows SA to be a high polluter, and it also seems questionable. CREA does state that its conclusion is based on “available data”, which renders the claim pointless as insufficient data cannot infer a meaningful conclusion.

It goes on to claim that China and India have lower readings, but there is now growing evidence of the extent to which these two countries have been lying about economic growth, inflation, GDP figures, foreign investment, debt and Covid infection numbers over two decades in an obsessive quest to attract and retain foreign investment.

Neither of these countries can be believed about any claims, including their impossibly low emissions. Given the tiny size of our population and economy relative to them it simply can’t be true that our emissions exceed those of such large economies.

The goal seems to be to shut down Eskom’s coal power generation. This could be to nullify our future coal power cost advantage over other countries, given our vast coal resources, as well as an attempt to create a market for green technology and take the focus away from the real high polluting countries.

We're not fooled, CREA. Energy minister Gwede Mantashe and Eskom should not allow SA to be manipulated into an energy-cost disadvantage in future. They must stand firm, and rather spend a few billion rands planting trees and investing in sulphur reduction technology at a pace and scale we can afford.

Hitesh Naran

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