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Picture: TIMES MEDIA
Picture: TIMES MEDIA

Michael Clements and Joseph Kibungu’s article refers (‘Clean energy is imperative to arrest catastrophe’, May 8).

The growing push for a “just energy transition” has widened to  environmental, social & governance (ESG) issues, refusing finance to coal power, designed human rights issues and worldwide protests. Very little debate or meaningful consultation with countries and people is evident, despite such claims.

Further, tools like the “transition mineral tracker” that is referred to will herd our energy landscape into a future designed by the energy transition beneficiaries. Protests by communities worldwide are not representative of their wide range of needs, and feature concerns limited to water scarcity, pollution, consultation and climate change.

Companies such as Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Shell are now in the transition’s crosshairs. My concern is that central to the transition is a desire to reverse countries’ localised energy independence, forcing nations into becoming eternal customers of imported solar panels, wind turbines and essential resources such as cobalt, copper and lithium.

One or two nations will become the only users of coal for power, making SA a desperate exporter of coal to nations that will squeeze out all profit from coal mining in future. Already Asian economies have monopolised mining in cobalt and lithium, and naive countries appear willing to push out existing mining houses to benefit the transition’s masters.

Our energy independence and security are in mortal danger. The department of mineral resources & energy and local mining houses need to push back against the transition. We should instead push for privately built coal power stations, local manufacture of solar and green infrastructure, as well as refusing participation until monopolies of mining in cobalt, copper and lithium are broken, and funding issues are changed.

India has already done so, and SA should too.

Hitesh Naran
Johannesburg

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