Environmental rights’ group Greenpeace have stated that the discovery of more fossil fuels off the coast of South Africa is not a cause for celebration.
Johannesburg , South Africa – Total South Africa announced on Thursday that it had made a significant gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa.
Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has hailed the discovery as a “major boost” for South Africa’s ailing economy but Greenpeace released a statement that says otherwise.
“Greenpeace Africa strongly condemns Total’s reckless oil exploration off the coast of South Africa. Discovering yet more oil and gas is not something to celebrate when burning fossil fuels is driving potentially catastrophic climate change. This is essentially oil that we cannot afford to burn in the face of extreme weather conditions and recurrent droughts,” Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele explained.
Burning of fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – is driving one of the biggest challenges facing the world today: climate change. Extreme weather events, rising oceans, and record setting temperatures are wreaking havoc on hundreds of millions of lives and livelihoods around the world.
“Greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, have already warmed the globe by more than 1°C since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Unless we can rein in these emissions and ambitiously transition to a just, clean, and renewable energy future – the planet will become unrecognizable as global temperatures soar by 4, 5, or 6 °C and beyond.”
The vast majority of the historical global emissions that are driving climate change have come from developed countries, like the United States, the EU, Japan, and Canada; but it is the poorest countries – those who can least afford to adapt to a changing climate – that are suffering first and worst.
Total Senior Vice President: Exploration, Kevin McLachlan, said the Brulpadda discovery was drilled in a challenging deep water environment. Total drilled this exploration well with the latest generation drilling ship and was able to leverage its experience in similar environments, such as the West of Shetland, United Kingdom but Greenpeace believe that deep sea drilling is far too risky.
“The possibility for an oil spill always exists, and the environmental impacts of deep sea drilling for oil and gas are too significant to be ignored, with very little benefit or job creation for South Africans. It is reckless of the South African government to allow oil and gas exploration to go ahead, and unfortunate that this was lauded as a victory at the State of the Nation Address.
According to the best available science, to have a decent shot at limiting global warming to even 2°C, 80% of the fossil fuels we already have access to must stay in the ground.
“According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and it is clear that if we are serious about stopping the worst impacts of climate change, then some fossil fuels must remain in the ground.”
This number will be even more dramatic for the 1.5 °C limit that countries, including the U.S., have committed to. This effectively means no major new fossil fuel projects, and phasing out existing fossil fuel production and consumption by the middle of the century, replacing them with a safe, clean, just, and renewable economy that is 100% decarbonized.
“This country (South Africa) is blessed with some of the best renewable energy resources in the world; it’s time to back renewable energy, and stop the reckless and dangerous dash for fossil fuels.”