Get active on climate change on Tuesday

Johannesburg, 5 December 2016 – By Gillian Hamilton

Our changing climate is the greatest challenge of our time, but there is no challenge too big if people around the world come together and embrace this reality, not least in South Africa.

This is the core message of a live 24-hour global broadcast hosted by The Climate Reality Project (CRP) from 01am on Tuesday 6 December, South Africa time, which will draw attention to the scope and scale of the challenge and offer people targeted ways in which they, individually, can make a difference.

The CRP was founded by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore, who has made it his mission to catalyse a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across all levels of society. This scheduled 24 Hours of Reality show is an annual event.

Focusing on the top 24 carbon emitting nations from six continents around the world, including South Africa, the show will harness the power of music, change-makers, world leaders, individual stories and visual content to inform, inspire and activate people across the globe.

Past performances and guests include Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Ian Somerhalder, Mark Ruffalo, Kofi Annan, Jim Kim, Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and more.

As the show moves around the globe from Argentina to the United States of America, it will examine each of the 24 countries – including our continent’s worst culprits, South Africa and Nigeria – identifying their commitments, the consequences the nation is facing due to climate change, and the potential for solutions, change and success.

The show stops in at the ETV studios in Cape Town, 6pm on Monday. Here Primedia’s Africa Melane and former Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo will shed light on South Africa’s climate challenges and interview two local climate activists, eco-guide Marshall Rinquest and poet Mbali Vilakazi.

The theme of this year’s 24 Hours of Reality is ‘The Road Forward’. It’s a nod to the historic events in Paris last year when at last every nation became signatories to the United Nations Climate Accord, and alludes to the question at hand this year: what is required to ensure its success?

By continuing to shine a light on the world accord, the campaign hopes to encourage cultural momentum, ensure leaders’ action and raise ambition and optimism around solving the climate crisis.

24 Hours of Reality is a day when climate change becomes a personal priority for people everywhere and when audiences become activists.

This year South Africans are being asked to put pressure on Eskom – our state-run monopoly energy utility – to sign Round Four of the Renewable Energy Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIP4) immediately.

Thus far, the REIP4 programme has been responsible for the creation of 23,324 job years for South Africans during construction and there will be 1,640 job years for the next 20 years while these projects are operational.

Round Four of REIP4 is calculated to create another 13,444 job years. In addition, the local communities that live close to the solar and wind farms will benefit from over R25 billion in socio-economic and enterprise development over the 20 year lives of the renewable energy projects. Local communities have shares in the projects and will benefit from almost R30 billion through their shareholding.

Why? While South Africa is a signatory to the UN Paris Accord and has made significant commitments towards cutting carbon emissions by 2030, South Africans have cause to be concerned that our country – one of the highest per capita per GDP carbon emitters in the world – is not staying on target.

One example is that Eskom is actively stalling on signing off on Round Four of REIP4, thereby slowing down the growth and development of renewable energy.

There are many reasons why Eskom’s stalling does not make sense. Renewable Energy is quicker and cheaper to install than its alternatives, uses less water and is better for the environment. Furthermore, it creates jobs and injects profits and significant development funds into stakeholder neighbouring communities.

To find out more about climate change in South Africa, tune online at 24HoursofReality.org from 6pm on Tuesday 6 December, or follow along for the full 24-hour broadcast as it makes its way around the world.

Then sign up to ‘Make it a Reality’ on the website and CRP will send a post in your name to our President Jacob Zuma and an action kit to you on the next steps you can take to make climate action a reality.

About the Author:

 Gillian Hamilton

Gillian has over 15 years’ worth of experience in the development sector. She has experience in integrated consulting and programme development and management. She has developed a comprehensive foundation in sustainable development, research, local economic development, skills development, public health, and youth entrepreneurship, as well as the assessment of development projects. She is passionately committed to the principles of sustainable development and believes in the power of networks and conversation. Gillian holds a masters and a bachelors (cum laude) in sustainable development from Stellenbosch University, an honours degree in economics (trade and development) from the University of Johannesburg, and a post-graduate diploma in management from Wits Business School. Gillian was selected as a GIZ Climate Change Leader and participated in their leadership programme during 2014.

For further enquiries contact:

Gill Hamilton, African Climate Reality Project Branch Manager
Email: gill@trees.org.za
Phone: 011 656 9802

Website: www.climatereality.co.za

Twitter: @AfricaCRP

Facebook: African Climate Reality Project