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In a first for SA, the fight to prevent climate change is making its way into the courtroom. Environmental group Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, has brought a case against environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa and her department for their decision to uphold environmental authorisation for the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station. In February 2015 the department granted environmental authorisation to Exxaro’s Thabametsi power project to construct a 1,200MW power plant near Lephalale in Limpopo. Earthlife Africa initially appealed to the minister to reconsider because a climate change impact assessment had not been conducted, but Molewa upheld the authorisation. She agreed that a climate change assessment was necessary and that the department’s chief director had not adequately assessed the climate change impact of the project. She ordered that an impact assessment be conducted within six months. But Earthlife Africa is s...

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