Towards Energy Sustainability in South Africa

Ken Mathu

Abstract


Coal is one of the three fossil fuels which are the main source of energy in the world. The other fossil fuels are crude oil and natural gas. Coal exists in situ in a number of countries and it contributes 39% of the total electricity generation in the world. In South Africa coal is the primary source of energy producing the country’s 88% of electricity and a third of liquid fuels. The coal production in the world is geared to maintain the energy supply even with the rising energy demand and cost emanating from rising global population and industrialisation. Hence, the need for sustainable energy supply for the present and the future. The global phenomenon of climate change or global warming which emerged in the early 1990s blames the weather pattern change partly to human development using non-renewable energy (fossil fuels) that provide high carbon emissions into the atmosphere. As a result, United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) was formed to lead the global campaign for the development of cleaner energy (producing less carbon emissions) and intensifying the use of renewable energy sources (produce cleaner energy) in an effort to slow down the climate change. During the last quarter of 2013 scientists reached a consensus by providing a 95% proof that carbon emissions into the atmosphere contribute significantly to the climate change. Therefore, the pursuance of energy sustainability is in development of clean energy from renewable sources and the use of technologies that reduces carbon emissions from the existing sources. The United Nations require all the nations in the world to adapt to the energy sustainability initiative. The South African government has reciprocated by introducing legislations supporting the initiative and has provided funds in support of projects involved in energy saving and development of renewable sources of energy.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n27p1686


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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