Cape Town - South African climate activists from the Green Connection (TGC) and small-scale fishers returned home after a week-long trip to Paris and Brussels where they joined French non-profit Bloom to call on France’s government and the EU Parliament to stop TotalEnergies’ oil and gas exploration in South Africa.
TotalEnergies recently applied for environmental authorisation to start production on gas fields in Luiperd and Brulpadda off the coast of Mossel Bay.
The groups also picketed at the French Consulate in Cape Town and at the TotalEnergies garage in KwaDwesi, Gqeberha, last week.
The group addressed an event at the EU, where they spoke about climate change and the need to halt new oil and gas projects.
TGC strategic lead Liz McDaid said: “Speaking to the EU parliament in Brussels, and at the French parliament, we raised the issue of the French company Total coming to South Africa in what we feel is a total onslaught on our ocean.
“We were very pleased that the EU acknowledged and promised to do whatever was in their power to help us to withstand this onslaught.”
On February 3, the Green Connection and Natural Justice made its submission on the scoping process of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the proposed offshore Block 11B/12B production right and environmental authorisation project for TotalEnergies EP South Africa, as part of the public participation process.
TGC advocacy officer Kholwani Simelane said: “After careful assessment, we have found the impacts associated with production to be significant and unacceptable, and propose that the environmental authorisation should be refused.
“We found the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to be severely lacking in its plans for the full assessment, particularly when it comes to assessing the full impact of the proposed project on marine life and ecosystems, and on climate change.”
Natural Justice explained that, “Block 11B/12B are just two of many blocks on our coastline where there are exploration applications that have been made. The burgeoning of oil and gas projects in our oceans, essentially wall-to-wall blocks of our entire coastline, will have significant implications for the constitutional rights of people – their livelihoods, heritage, health rights – but will also have implications for our ocean life.”
The founders of Bloom (Claire Nouvian) and TGC (Liziwe McDaid), are both 2018 winners of the International Goldman and said these organisations would continue to advocate for the protection of the oceans.