The Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign – a joint campaign by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, groundWork, and the Centre for Environmental Rights – took off in mid-2016, in the midst of an intensifying debate around long-term energy plans for South Africa.
We are dedicated to discouraging investment in new coal-fired power stations and mines; accelerating the retirement of South Africa’s coal infrastructure; and enabling a just transition to renewable energy systems for the people.
Victory in SA’s first climate change court case
In 2016, the Minister of Environmental Affairs for the first time required a climate change impact assessment for a coal power plant. This followed Earthlife Africa’s appeal against the grant of an environmental authorisation for the proposed Thabametsi coal power plant in Limpopo. Earthlife Africa, represented by the CER, instituted proceedings in the High Court to set aside the Minister’s decision to refuse its appeal on the basis that she could not lawfully have granted the authorisation without a climate change impact assessment.
This case was heard on 2 and 3 March 2017. Five days later the North Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of Earthlife Africa, and referred the appeal against the environmental authorisation for a new coal-fired power station back to the Minister of Environmental Affairs on the basis that its climate change impacts had not properly been considered. With the deadline to appeal this decision having expired on Thursday, 30 March 2017, we assume that the Minister, Department of Environmental Affairs and Thabametsi Power Company (Pty) Ltd. do not intend to appeal the decision.
Many important initiatives
While our landmark victory in South Africa’s first climate change court case has been a key achievement, it has represented only one of many important Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle initiatives to discourage investment in new coal-fired power stations and mines; accelerate the retirement of SA’s coal infrastructure; and enable a just transition to renewable energy systems for the people.
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