Extraction of Unconventional Gas will create some jobs. Most likely these will be for highly skilled engineers, not for local people who will bear the brunt of the negative impacts. Saliem Fakir of WWF “The oil and gas industry tends to overplay the potential economic value of unconventional gas. The conditions in South Africa are unfavourable at present, to make shale gas the game changer that the Government is hoping it will be.”
Our use of fossil fuels is fuelling this land grab for the hydrocarbons beneath the surface. There are alternatives to coal and gas for energy. South Africa has many projects which are quietly and effectively adding power to the national grid – projects which have come on line on time and on budget, unlike the coal-fired power stations which affect communities’ health and resilience. The quote below (from the SA Government’s input to the CoP21 Climate Change meeting in Paris in December 2016), highlights the fact that there are suitable and sustainable (economic, social, environmental) alternatives, with better job prospects than fossil fuel projects.
‘South Africa has already made significant investments in mitigation. As part of a Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REI4P) has approved 79 renewable energy IPP projects, total 5 243MW, with private investment totalling ZAR 192 billion (approx. US$ 16 billion). Another 6300 MW are under consideration. Investment in public transport infrastructure was US$ 0.5 billion in 2012, and is expected to continue growing at 5% per year. South Africa established a South African Green Fund with an allocated US$ 0.11 billion in the 2011 to 2013 budgets to support catalytic and demonstration green economy initiatives.’
Read the WWF publication ‘Framework to assess the Economic reality of shale gas in South Africa’ (2015, S Fakir), here.
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