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Wednesday, 16 June 2010 02:32

Greenpeace Solar Powers World Cup Festivities

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The following is a press release from Greenpeace.

Today villagers in Jericho, a village near Johannesburg, will gather around a specially constructed Greenpeace Solar-powered Public Viewing Area to watch South Africa’s Bafana Bafana football team play against Uruguay.

The large-screen TV powered by the sun has been placed in the Jericho community hall. The entire setup is powered by solar panels and generators, erected by schoolchildren, trained by Greenpeace for the task. Greenpeace Africa kicked off this Thangkollo ya Solar (Solar Kick Off) project to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy sources in South Africa.

“What the Jericho project shows is that South Africa doesn’t have to rely on outdated methods to literally empower its people. The country has some of the best renewable energy sources in the world in the form of sun and wind,” said Nkopane Maphiri, Greenpeace Africa’s climate campaigner.

“We want to make sure that South Africa doesn’t commit a home goal by not taking advantage of its renewable energy resources,” Nkopane Maphiri added.

Jericho’s solar viewing screens are an example of Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution campaign in practice. A key area of the campaign is about investment in people and local communities who can install and maintain renewable energy sources.

“If it hadn’t been for Greenpeace and solar power the football festival might just have by passed us by,” said Amos Nkotsi, a community journalist who also took part in the solar workshop.

Although South Africa’s government is talking about reducing its carbon emissions, due to a power crisis, it has opted to invest in more dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power. However, Greenpeace believes that if the government embraces the Energy [R]evolution pathway by investing in renewable energy and encouraging projects such as the one in Jericho, then not only will it dramatically reduce its carbon emissions, it could create 78,000 new direct jobs in the renewable-energy industry by 2030, far more than will be created in the ailing coal-mining industry.

If other African governments seize the opportunity to invest in a greener future, 1.8 million green-collar jobs would be created by 2030 and by 2050 over three quarters of the electricity produced in Africa will come from renewable-energy sources.

Key to making the Energy [R]evolution a reality is creating a system in which investment costs for a renewable future are shared fairly under a global climate regime. One such mechanism that could greatly help Africa is the Greenhouse Development Rights framework (GDR), which calculates national shares of global greenhouse-gas obligations based on a combination of responsibility (contribution to climate change) and capacity (ability to pay).