COP26 chief: I’ve heard a clear commitment from SA to clean energy transition

South Africa's Just Energy Transition has been in the spotlight, with the head of COP26 in the country to assess progress.

Alok Sharma is the President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Summit and a British Member of Parliament.

After a three-day visit to "support the implementation of the South Africa Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP)", Sharma spoke to Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show.

Sharma's itinerary included a stop at Eskom's Komati power station in Mpumalanga to discuss plans to repurpose the plant as part of the green transition.

He also met local miners and community leaders.

"It is vital that the transition is fair and protects livelihoods", he says.

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COP President @AlokSharma_RDG was in Mpumalanga province today, visiting @Eskom_SA’s Komati power station in Middelburg, to hear about South Africa’s energy future.

The UK 🇬🇧 is partnering with 🇩🇪 🇨🇵🇺🇲 🇪🇺 and 🇿🇦 on a long-term partnership to support SA’s decarbonisation plans.

— UK in South Africa🇬🇧 (@ukinsouthafrica) June 20, 2022

What they want to see across the world is a clean energy transition, whether that is in Europe or South Africa says Sharma.

You'll be aware that at COP26 last November we announced a South African Just Energy Transition partnership involving South Africa and a number of other countries including the United Kingdom…

Alok Sharma, President – COP26

This is a political declaration that was made about supporting South Africa to the tune of $8.5 billion over the next 3-5 years… and its plans for a clean energy transition.

Alok Sharma, President – COP26

On this trip Sharma says, his meeting with Cabinet Ministers has shown "a clear commitment" to a clean energy transition by the South African government.

I can tell you that we had a very constructive set of discussions with South African ministers today and we've agreed to redouble our efforts so that by the time we get to COP27, we can show some concrete progress on the Just Energy Transition…

Alok Sharma, President – COP26

He says his meeting with miners and union representatives was also vital "to understand from them what a just energy transition means".

Of course, this is hard… but this is about a transition, it's not about flicking a switch off overnight. This is something that will take a lot of hard work over a period of time to ensure that we have a clean energy transition.

Alok Sharma, President – COP26

But if you look now, South Africa as a country is suffering from load shedding… and that of course has a big negative impact in terms of growth in the economy itself… and that's why I think there is a very clear understanding with the ministers I've spoken to today is that there needs to be a big acceleration on renewables.

Alok Sharma, President – COP26

One thing that countries have very clearly understood, is that climate security and environmental security are entirely interlinked with energy security as well as national security… What you're seeing is many countries come forward with plans to accelerate the move to clean energy, to renewables… The UK gets about 4% of its gas from Russia; we expect to wean ourselves off that very soon and we have set out our own energy security strategy…

Alok Sharma, President – COP26

When Whitfield asked about South African policy makers' tendency to move slowly as well as vested coal interests in the country, Sharma reiterated that on Tuesday he heard "a very clear commitment" to the Just Energy Transition.

Listen to Sharma discuss global and South African moves to a green energy transition amid the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : COP26 chief: I've heard a clear commitment from SA to clean energy transition

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