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S.Africa hails ‘successful’ coal ‘phase-down’ deal

Coal-dependent South Africa on Sunday welcomed the outcome of the Glasgow climate conference at which the language on fossil fuels curbs was significantly nuanced.

With coal providing 80 percent of the country’s power, South Africa is among the world top 12 largest greenhouse gas emitters.

Yet the African continent’s most industrialised nation is battling to meet its energy needs.

The final text at the end of two weeks of tough COP26 negotiations urged nations to accelerate efforts to “phase down” unfiltered coal and “phase out” inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

South Africa’s chief negotiator Maesela Kekana said the way the wording was initially “framed was not in line with the principles of… equity and common differentiated approaches as well as issues of climate justice”.

Ultimately there was “consensus, and we agreed that it is important to phase down coal, while taking into account one’s national circumstances and also looking at issues of support for developing countries and issues of just transition”.

“So in our view that issue was concluded successfully,” he told AFP via a voice note.

In Glasgow, South Africa secured $8.5 billion (7.3 billion euros) in loans and grants from a group of rich nations to finance its migration away from coal.

Overall, said Maesela Kekana, “We are quite happy with the outcomes … we believe that this outcome put us in a good path for (a) successful” African COP27 to be hosted by Egypt in 2022.