Viewed from the conference centres of Cops, the Just Energy Transition Partnerships are pretty exciting.
But from Benicon Park, an informal settlement next to a coal-fired power station in South Africa’s coal country, it looks like a threat to the community. That’s what our joint investigation with local outlet Oxpeckers found.
It’s too early to say whether the coal-to-renewable transition will do the economic damage this community fears. But much will depend on how good retraining is and just 0.1% of South Africa’s $83 billion investment plan is allocated to skills development.
Part of the problem is rich countries and private companies are unwilling to fund things like training courses. The reason is simple: unlike solar farms, these don’t make any money and, therefore, require grants, not loans.
This week’s stories
- What’s at stake for climate at the World Bank’s spring meeting?
- G7 may ignore climate warnings and call for new gas investments
- World Bank’s private sector arm to stop supporting new coal
- Migrant workers face risks building Europe’s new gas supplies in the UAE
- Moves to crystallise right to a healthy environment spark tension at UN
- OECD reforms set to give “green” projects better export finance
- Uncertainty on renewable retraining frightens South Africa’s coal communities
- Insurer quits climate alliance, citing legal fears
That’s not to say that working in the fossil fuel sector is all sweetness and light though.
Our reporting from the UAE found that migrant workers in the oil and gas sector are dying and the authorities are ignoring the safety problems causing these unnecessary deaths.
One jeep driver working on a pipeline project died after getting lost in the desert for two days. Authorities say he died of a heart attack, which means companies don’t have to pay families compensation.
Looking ahead to next week, all eyes are on the Japanese city of Sapporo where the G7 is debating whether to call for new gas investments and Washington DC where the World Bank’s spring meeting will discuss how to get the big bucks moving into climate projects.