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South Africa risks losing billions pledged for climate finance

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South Africa is risking a $9.3-billion climate finance pact by delaying the closing of a number of coal-fired power plants, a panel appointed by the country’s environment minister said. In an agreement known as the Just Energy Transition Partnership, South Africa won the bulk of the pledges from some of the world’s richest nations in loans, grants and guarantees in 2021. They offered to help the country reduce its dependence on coal for power generation on condition it phased out a number of its older plants using the dirtiest fuel. The worst power cuts on record last year prompted Eskom, the State power utility, to delay shutting down the facilities. Eskom has said it has decided to postpone the decommissioning of three power plants — Grootvlei, Hendrina and Camden — until 2030. A unit in the South African presidency earlier this month made a presentation about the nation’s new plans to the World Bank-linked Climate Investment Funds, which is considering allocating $500-million to South Africa. Financing from the fund could trigger a further $2-billion in investment from other partners. The content and outcome of those discussions haven’t been disclosed.
 
 
 
 
 

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