Energy | WWF South Africa

	© Eitan Prince/WWF

Becoming energy-wise

From the electricity that powers our homes to the fuel that keeps vehicles moving on our roads, South Africa is a country that stubbornly clings to fossil fuels.
The burning of these fossil fuels also happens to be the country’s biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.

Rethinking our energy mix and how we travel from A to B in an effort to reducing our emissions would go a long way in fighting climate change.

To do this, we need to shift from traditional modes of transport to existing low-carbon alternatives. Making use of the public transport alternatives are available to us is the first step.

WWF’s top 5 tips to saving energy:
  1. Conduct an energy audit to assess your energy consumption at home and at work. For businesses this must include direct energy and energy involved in suppliers’ activities.
  2. Reduce your emissions with quick wins of using LED bulbs, setting electric geysers at 60°C and washing clothes in cold washes. Medium-term investments include insulating your ceiling and buying appliances with the best possible energy rating.
  3. To reduce the largest home energy cost, invest in solar water heating or use geyser timers to heat water during the day to make use of daytime solar power feeding into the grid.
  4. Reduce transport energy consumption by minimising your travel, making use of public transport wherever possible and setting up ride-sharing or carpooling schemes at your work place or school.
  5. Raise your voice and urge your ward councillor to fast track municipal support of household feed-in tariff incentives to generate grid electricity from household renewable energy installations.

The facts:

  • Renewable energy, in the form of wind power and solar cells, has decreased in price by more than 80% in the last eight years. It also uses much less water than coal power.
  • The largest factor driving climate change is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, yet the South African government is proposing to continue using coal until the end of the century, and to use extremely expensive nuclear power as the way of reducing emissions.
  • If we go beyond an annual increase of 1.5°C, climate change will have serious negative effects for humans and nature. Yet, global commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions still commit us to more than 3°C by the end of this century. We are fast losing this war!
  • Shifting freight from road to rail, and investing in better integrated public transport, can considerably reduce energy expenditure in the transport sector whilst saving money.
  • Globally, renewable energy provides more jobs per kilowatt hour of electricity than fossil fuels. This opportunity also exists in South Africa to grow employment in the energy sector.

What are the possibilities?

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