South Africa: The Sorry Tale of a Coal Mine in Paradise - and the Japanese Hands Behind It


The people of the Bushveld around Waterberg used to live peaceful lives in a beautiful area -- until Medupi destroyed its ecological and social fabric. The government -- with a Japanese firm -- plans to build another coal-fired power station in the area, but the community is fighting back.

Last week, leaders of the 20 biggest economies in the world, including South Africa, met in Japan for the G20 summit which focused on key economic issues, including the group's commitments to climate action. While the G20 has, in the past, played a critical role in driving action on climate change, host Japan has diluted its climate ambitions in an attempt to win over Donald Trump for a potential trade deal, as the US stymies G20 efforts to scale up on the political leadership required to act on the Paris Climate Agreement.

As Japan continues to invest more money in the coal sector, and stalls on its commitments to decarbonise, the community of Lephalale is pushing back against plans by South African and Japanese companies to develop a new coal-fired power station in their area. They are calling for an unequivocal ban on new finance for coal development.

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