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SA's climate change submission to COP21 scrutinised

Govt has been urged to focus on renewable energy and turn its back on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

FILE: Cosatu and environmental groups criticised government during public hearings in Parliament yesterday. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's submission to global climate change negotiations at the Conference of Parties (COP21) have come under sharp scrutiny in Parliament.

The talks in Paris set for December are aimed at getting agreement on action that will prevent the earth's temperature from rising two percent above pre-industrial age levels.

About 90 percent of South Africa's energy depends on coal and it is ranked by the World Bank as among the globe's top emitters of the greenhouse gases which are warming the planet.

At public hearings in Parliament yesterday, Cosatu and environmental groups criticised the government for focusing on fossil fuels and nuclear rather than renewable energy.

The government has been urged to turn its back on fossil fuels and nuclear and focus instead on renewable energy to help halt runaway climate change.

Greenpeace Africa's Penny-Jane Cooke said, "The country can and must champion renewable energy as opposed to following the business as usual approach which we're currently seeing through new investments in nuclear and coal."

Hameda Deedat of Cosatu's research arm Naledi, says the trade union federation is opposed to nuclear power.

"It doesn't create jobs, whereas renewable energy does and it creates an opportunity for redeployment of skills."

The public hearings continue today.