Green skills to pay the bills – Climate Weekly

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Duvha power station, located in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is scheduled to be decommissioned between 2031 and 2034. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)


Viewed from the conference centres of Cops, the Just Energy Transition Partnerships are pretty exciting.

Rich countries are giving billions of dollars to coal-reliant emerging economies like South Africa, Indonesia and Vietnam to help them shift to renewables.

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

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.

Read more on: World