JOHANNESBURG – Eskom Holdings, which accounts for two-fifths of South Africa’s greenhouse-gas emissions, leads the country’s biggest emitters in its failure to set targets to reduce its impact on the climate, a report shows.
The state power utility, which produces most of its electricity from coal, also doesn’t disclose who at the company is responsible for assessing its climate-based risks, the Cape Town-based Centre for Environmental Rights said in a report released on Monday.
With its economy heavily dependent on mining and manufacturing, South Africa ranks as the continent’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases and matches the level produced by the UK. which has a gross domestic product almost eight times bigger.
Eskom, already the subject of lawsuits for air pollution that affects respiratory health, is one of five of the country’s 10 largest polluters that hasn’t set any reduction targets. Others include the local unit of ArcelorMittal, wood-pulp company Sappi and cement producer PPC, Sasol South Africa’s second-biggest emitter, has set a target, as have Anglo American Plc and Gold Fields.
For Eskom, which is struggling to service R450 billion in debt, a lack of maintenance leads to frequent breakdowns and has exacerbated its pollution problems. In July, the company said emissions of particulate matter from its plants were at the highest in two decades.